College Hoops Player of the Day for Thursday, March 1, 2012
When they needed his scoring the most, Tim Hardaway Jr. came through for Michigan in a big way.
Hardaway was a perfect 4-for-4 on three-pointers and finished with a game high 25 points, going 6-for-7 from the field and making 9 of 10 free throws as the Wolverines won at Illinois for the first time since 1995, topping the Fighting Illini by a 71-62 score.
#22 Michigan led the entire game, opening a 35-27 lead by half time and extending their edge through the second half on 47% shooting from the field while making 21 of 23 free throws.
Hardaway was also an effective rebounder, wiping the glass with 11 boards for his second double-double of the season.
The Wolverine win put them in a position to share the Big Ten title if they can win at Penn State this Sunday and Ohio State whips Michigan State in their season finale. The Spartans are 13-4, while the Buckeyes and Wolverines share second place with identical 12-5 conference records.
Illinois, losers of 10 of their last 12 - all within the Big Ten - probably have played their way out of an NCAA invitation and may be costing coach Bruce Weber his job.
Elsewhere around the Top 25, top-ranked Kentucky tore apart a hopelessly overmatched Georgia squad, 79-49, for their 21st straight victory, the longest winning streak in the nation.
#22 Florida State used a late 16-2 surge to overtake #24 Virginia, 63-60.