2014 Big Ten Tournament: 5 Things To Watch

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Mar 8, 2014; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines guard Nik Stauskas (11) holds up the trophy for the regular season Big Ten championship after the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Crisler Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan No Longer An Underdog

The Michigan Wolverines hold the #1 seed in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament.  That means the Wolverines can no longer play the underdog role and instead will have teams gunning for them.

That said Michigan has certainly shown they can respond to the pressure. After losing Mitch McGary to a back injury early in the season, the Wolverines took little time to adjust and find an identity as one of the Nations premier perimeter shooting teams.

But don’t let the gaudy three-point shooting numbers fool you.  Michigan can play inside too and had no problem handling players like Michigan State’s Adrian Payne and Iowa’s Aaron White.

Lessons learned by team leader Nik Stauskas from Michigan’s run in last years NCAA tournament should help them handle the pressure that comes with being a #1 seed. Stauskas struggled in last years championship game and the memory of that has driven him (and the Wolverines) to play at a high level this season.

"I felt like I let my teammates down,” Stauskas said. “The motivation I had after that game, it was at an all-time high. That kicked off my spring and summer. If there was a day that I didn’t feel like working out, I would look at that page, at the names of the players who people thought were better than me,” he said, “and that kind of motivated me to keep going and working, where I could be in contention for those kinds of things.”"