COLUMBUS, Ohio – The difference between perfect record and first loss may have been a fickle fraction of an inch, as Michigan guard Trey Burke’s step-back 3-pointer just jiggled out with 17 seconds left Sunday.
“I’m not going to lie,” said Ohio State’s Aaron Craft, who was guarding Burke on the play. “I thought it was going in when I turned around.”
It didn’t, and the Buckeyes won, 56-53. In the process they denied their hated rivals a chance to be No. 1 in the rankings Monday, and also ended the annual Unbeaten Watch in college basketball.
Arizona (14-0) was taken down last Thursday at Oregon. Duke (15-0) lost Saturday at North Carolina State. That left the Wolverines (16-0) as the last unbeaten standing, and they didn’t stand long Sunday. Michigan fell behind 4-3 and never led again, despite mounting a valiant comeback after a first-half meltdown.
It was an even earlier ending to The Watch than usual. Michigan had the fewest consecutive victories to start the season for the last unbeaten since Wake Forest went 16-0 in 2008-09. The Jan. 13 loss date is the earliest since Clemson was beaten on the same date in 2007.