And so it was. The 7'2 Haas had one of his best games of the season last time he faced MI, putting up 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting.
"In the first half, we had some really good looks and we didn't make them". "Sometimes there is residual action, so we had to find different ways".
The Wolverines are not almost as talented as some of the teams Beilein has taken deep in recent NCAA Tournaments, but MI makes up for it with outsized confidence, as well as the most impressive and reliable defense - the Big Ten's best scoring defense this season, allowing 63.5 points per game - his team has ever demonstrated.
There are a lot of reasons why the MI basketball team is rolling right now, but chief among is Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.
Junior guard Matt McQuaid hit two 3-pointers within the last four minutes of Saturday's contest. The senior guard launched a trey as the shot clock expired with 2:48 remaining in the game. Wagner finished with 15 points.
"I was actually thinking 'Why didn't it swish?' because it felt really good coming off my hands", Abdur-Rahkman said.
"Let's go blue!" chants erupted and echoed across a sold-out crowd of 19,812 spectators.
Added Beilein: "It was an ugly three, but it was pretty to MI".
Mathias and Haas provided an offensive boost, picking up the slack for Vincent Edwards.
The redshirt sophomore translated that energy to the defensive end with an emphatic block and corralling two, hard-fought rebounds between back-to-back possessions - both of which led to pushing matches after whistles. "We weren't backing down". "(We) just did a good job of taking up that space and being able to force him into tough shots".
Following a technical foul on Spartan forward Nick Ward after the second tie-up, a fire was lit under Michigan State. His scoring average is 16.5 and his 3-point percentage is 44, after making 26-of-58 shots from deep. OSU got a deflection goal from Matthew Weiss at 1:54 and defenseman Sasha Larocque's shot from the left point eluded goalie John Lethemon at 6:36, and suddenly it was 4-1.
The early smack talk was only a temporary reprieve from the overarching malaise of the first half, though. He missed all four of his 3-point shots.
Jack Berry allowed six goals on 22 MI shots.
"Coach and I have a really good relationship", said Wagner, who stood in front of the MI fans after the game and repeatedly waived his arms to encourage the celebration.
If Michigan (27-7, 13-5) can continue to defend as well as it has during its current eight-game win streak, the Wolverines will be a tough out in the NCAA tournament. Notre Dame, Ohio State, Minnesota, Michigan, and Penn State are essentially tournament locks through the first round of conference postseason series. Michigan and Michigan State arm-wrestled between timely 3-pointers and fruitful drives - a stark contrast from the previous, lackluster 20 minutes. But the place was packed and loud for the Wolverines and Spartans, with MI fans especially making their presence heard.
Edwards may have received consensus first-team all-Big Ten honors, but by the final buzzer Sunday evening, there's a chance he will start receiving the additional hype he deserves.
"They're not ideal yet, but they work at it, " Beilein said.