ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Center Kaleb Tarczewski may miss time this week with a severe ankle sprain, after exiting the Crisler Center with a boot on his right foot following today's game.
However, trainer Justin Kokoskie said a timetable for his return won’t be known until he can see how the ankle responds the rest of the weekend.
Tarczewski did return to Saturday's game after hurting his ankle, receiving tape and quick treatment on the sidelines.
“It was a big game,” Tarczewski said. “It was important for me to be out there.”
Whether or not the Wildcats won today, Sean Miller put himself in position to gain respect.
He scheduled it, after all.
And, as Michigan coach John Beilien said beforehand, not everybody schedules big true road nonconference games these days. This is an era where teams can be tempted to play in a big November neutral-site event and coast through December with easier games.
UA won a true road game at San Diego State, while beating Duke on a neutral court in Michigan, and now this.
“You can’t win a game like this unless you play the game,” Miller said on his postgame CBS interview.
In his postgame podium media session afterwards, Miller said the Wildcats would have gained either way from just playing at Michigan.
“We leave here obviously very excited and knowing that this is as quality of a win as you can have in my opinion in the country,” Miller said. “The home and away games are so meaningful and I felt like today I we were going to be better if we won, and we’re going to be better if we lost because we played the game.”
It was obvious that putting Glenn Robinson III on ice after he scored 16 first-half points, thanks largely to Aaron Gordon’s defense, was a key for the Wildcats.
So was the Wildcats’ 37-24 rebounding edge. And having only nine turnovers.
But there was also this: The Wildcats actually had nine offensive rebounds in the first half but only scored only two points off them. Then they managed six points on another nine offensive boards in the second half.
“We’re a great offensive rebounding team, but in the first half we had nine second shots and only scored two points,” Miller said. “Michigan has the length. They don’t have a center. Their length is deceptive because their wings are tall and long. We felt that in the first half.
“In the second half our shots in and around the basket, we really did a good job of connecting and didn’t turn the ball over. We got two-point shots around the rim and rebounded and were fortunate to make that deficit up.”
Tarczewski credited UA guards for finding him, which is of course what Miller was hoping to see.
Tarczewski, after all, is seven feet tall. Michigan effectively starts a power forward (Mitch McGary) at center and a small forward (Glenn Robinson III) at power forward.
“Size and physicalness, both things matter a lot, but you have to be able to get the result from size and physical play,” Miller said. “In the second half we really did. If you think about where our shots were coming from we tried to take advantage of our size.”
UA scored 20 of its 44 second-half points in the paint, and outscored Michigan 34-28 overall inside.
Up by five with six seconds to go, UA fouled Michigan’s Spike Albrecht before he or anybody else had a chance to set up near the three-point line.
It wasn’t too early for Miller to do so. His memory of Xavier’s 2007 NCAA tournament loss to Ohio State always tell him that.
“Every coach has his philosophy, but I lost one of hardest games that you could ever lose, to Ohio State in the NCAA tournament, and I made up my mind on the bus home that I’m gonna lose a different way for the rest of my life,” Miller said. “Knowing how prolific Michigan is shooting the three, and the way John Beilein is, especially at home, that they would put their shooter in a position to make a three…”
Here's the official box score and play-by-play.