Three Key Takeaways.
- Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper. D.J. Cooper was sensational on this night. Ohio’s diminutive guard controlled the offensive end of the floor in helping the Bobcats upset the Wolverines. Cooper finished 7-11 from the floor (3-6 from 3-point range) and dished out a team-leading five assists. The country may not have known about Cooper before tonight, but anyone who watched the game knows about him now. Cooper, a first-team all-MAC selection, was better than his sensational counterpart from Michigan, Trey Burke, who was a non-factor until late in the contest.
- Giant Slayers Again. Two years ago, Ohio, coming off a seventh-place finish in the MAC, shocked the college basketball as a #14 seed when it beat third-seeded Georgetown. Tonight, it did it again with a more accomplished squad. Coach John Groce’s club was efficient offensively, and is clearly a well-coached squad. It is only a matter of time before Groce’s name starts popping up in high-major searches.
- Too little, too late from Burke. Burke scored only four points in the game’s first 32 minutes. He then went on a quick 12-point outburst, including two threes to pull the Wolverines within three on two occasions. The Wolverines could never get any closer. If Burke had been more involved earlier, perhaps the Wolverines would be moving on to the weekend.
Star of the Game. DJ Cooper, Ohio. Could it be anyone other than Cooper? If the Bobcats can advance to the tournament’s second weekend, the country will get to know him well.
Quotable. “We lost to a deserving team tonight. Ohio is an excellent basketball team and deserved to move on.” Michigan head coach John Beilein
Sights and Sounds. The best moment of the night came when Tim Hardaway, Jr., went to the line early in the second half. When Ohio’s fans started a “Daddy’s Boy” chant, he turned around with a huge grin. Michigan fans responded by serenading him with “Happy Birthday.” Hardaway turned 20 today.
What’s Next? The Bobcats face the winner of the matchup between Temple and South Florida, and there’s no reason to think they can’t advance to the tournament’s second weekend. They proved tonight they can play with the big boys.