Land of 10
Breakfast of Victors

Michigan chasing Big Ten byes, Happy Birthday in the locker room, a wild-pitch walk-off and more…

Wake up University of Michigan fans and welcome to Breakfast of Victors, Land of 10’s daily morning briefing of Wolverines athletics. We’ll get your weekdays started with all the latest Michigan news, notes and insights. Our goal is to bring you closer to the Maize-and-Blue, your favorite school.

Today is Monday, Feb. 27, and here’s your Breakfast of Victors …

The final week of the basketball regular season is upon us, and Michigan is still very much in the chase to finish in the top four of the Big Ten. The Wolverines gave themselves that opportunity Saturday by beating Purdue, 82-70, on Senior Day.

Purdue maintained sole possession of first place with a 12-4 record when Wisconsin (11-5) lost at Michigan State. The Spartans (10-6) are tied with Maryland and Minnesota for third place. Michigan and Northwestern are tied for fifth place at 9-7. The Wolverines play at Northwestern on Wednesday. Michigan ends the regular season next Sunday night at Nebraska.

The top four teams receive double-byes in the Big Ten Tournament, which starts March 8 in Washington D.C., meaning they would only have to win three games to capture the tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan is 19-10 overall after the victory against Purdue, which included a 24-point performance by sophomore Moritz Wagner.

During their postgame celebration, the Wolverines sang “Happy Birthday” to John Beilein’s granddaughter, Finley.

Free pass

Major League Baseball wants to do away with the four-pitch intentional walk. Michigan is grateful that rule change hasn’t found its way to college baseball.

The Wolverines beat Creighton, 7-6, in 10 innings Saturday, when junior Jake Bivens scored on a wild pitch delivered during an attempted intentional walk to junior Drew Lugbauer. It was part of a 3-0 weekend for the Wolverines at the Jack Gifford Memorial Tournament in Santa Clara, Calif.

Michigan beat Saint Louis on Friday, 6-1, and then beat host Santa Clara, 10-3, on Sunday to improve to 5-2 on the season. The Wolverines continue their eight-game West Coast trip with a game Monday against San Jose State in Stockton, Calif. They’ll then play four games in Los Angeles, beginning Wednesday against Loyola Marymount.

Michigan will play in the Dodgertown Classic next weekend, facing UCLA, USC and San Diego. The game against San Diego on Sunday will be played at Dodger Stadium.

Women’s hoops get double-bye in Big Ten Tournament

The Wolverines dropped their regular-season finale Sunday at Penn State, 76-75, but still ended up in third place in the Big Ten.

Freshman Kysre Gondrezick equaled her career high by scoring 25 points, but Michigan (22-8, 11-5) was unable to maintain a late lead as it lost for the third time in the last four games. It has still equaled the school record for wins in a season and will get a chance to set a new standard when it plays its first game of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday in Indianapolis.

Michigan receives a double-bye in the tournament. No. 14-seed Rutgers and No. 11-seed Wisconsin will meet in a first-round game on Wednesday. That winner will play No. 6-seed Michigan State on Thursday, and Michigan will get the winner.

This is just the fourth time in program history that Michigan has finished in the top three of the league.

True Maize-and-Blue in Columbus

The men’s hockey team shut out Ohio State on the road Saturday night, 1-0, behind a 42-save performance by senior Zach Nagelvoort. The game’s lone goal was scored by freshman Nick Pastujov to gain a split of the weekend series.

Former Michigan defenseman Zach Werenski is now a rookie playing for the Columbus Blue Jackets in the NHL. Despite his new home, Werenski is still true to his alma mater.

JJ is defenseman Jack Johnson, who played one season at Michigan (2005-06) and set school freshman records for points (32) and penalty minutes (149) that season.

Breakfast links