Last year in Chapel Hill, Michigan basketball hardly looked the part of an NCAA Finalist.
North Carolina, the defending national champs at the time, bullied the Wolverines 86-71 behind forward Luke Maye’s 27 points in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
What a difference a year makes.
John Beilein’s offensive genius combined with Luke Yaklich’s defensive prowess to fuel a run to the title game. They enacted some vengeance for the loss to Villanova two weeks ago, blasting the Wildcats by 27 in Philadelphia.
It follows a pattern in the Beilein era. His teams typically avoid two losses in a row to non-conference programs. With the 11th-ranked Tar Heels visiting Crisler Center Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Michigan looks to continue the trend.
In just his second season, his team responded to the previous year’s double-digit defeat to No. 4 UCLA.
That took place in the Preseason NIT semifinals in Manhattan. The next night, the Wolverines fell by 15 to Duke.
Only two weeks later, Beilein got the better of Coach K with an eight-point triumph in Ann Arbor.
Deep into Big Ten play, Beilein led the 2008-09 outfit to Storrs, Conn. to face the top-ranked Connecticut. The first of a home-and-home series ended with a 69-61 Huskies victory.
The following year, Beilein and company returned the favor 68-63, with fans storming the court in the process. In the postgame recap, some bald jackass danced like a fool behind Verne Lundquist.
My hair style has not changed.
The 2009-10 campaign also featured Kansas and Utah routing the Wolverines. The next year, Michigan dispatched the Utes by 11, and pushed the No. 3 Jayhawks to overtime.
Eventually, Trey Burke snatched victory from the jaws of defeat over Kansas in the 2013 Sweet Sixteen.
After Darius Morris doinked a floater off the rim in the 2011 NCAA Third Round versus Duke, the Wolverines dropped another just months later to the Blue Devils in Maui.
This started a stretch of consecutive losses to power programs. Over the next four years, Beilein sustained consecutive losses to power programs such as Duke (again), Arizona and Southern Methodist.
Once 2016-17 rolled around, the revenge theme resurfaced. First, the Maize and Blue finally got over the hump against SMU, blowing them out 76-54 in the 2K Sports Classic.
A few months later in March Madness, the program finally slayed Dracula, that is Rick Pitino, in the first meeting since the 2013 NCAA Championship Game.
More specifically, Mo Wagner put a stake in the Cardinals in the 73-69 victory.
With Michigan already roasting Villanova in this year’s rematch, expect another motivated effort Wednesday against Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.