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Bill Frieder's Michigan Wolverines entered the 1988-1989 season on the heels of a Top 10 ranking the previous year. Expectations were high with a loaded roster that boasted 6 future NBA players including All-American Glen Rice. Rice would go on to average nearly 26 points and 6 rebounds per game in '89 on his way to being named Big Ten Player of the Year.
Michigan finished the regular season 21-6 but the real fireworks were just getting started. On the eve of the NCAA Tournament Frieder was fired by Michigan AD Bo Schembechler after word leaked he would be leaving for Arizona State after the tournament. Enter Steve Fisher.
The man that would later assemble the Fab Five took over the #3 seed Wolverines just in time to win his first two NCAA games against Xavier and South Alabama and earn a spot in the Sweet 16. Two more wins over #2 North Carolina and #5 Virginia put Michigan in the Final Four.
Waiting for UM in the Final Four was conference rival Illinois. The Flyin' Illini beat Michigan twice during the regular season but this time belonged to the Wolverines, 83-81.
In what would go down as one of the best championship games in NCAA history, Rumeal Robinson stepped up to the line and knocked down 2 free throws to give Michigan an 80-79 victory and a national championship.
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