INDIANAPOLIS (DETROIT FREE PRESS) - It's a rare successful chant for the Michigan fan base.
There aren't many successful chances for the "Beat Ohio" chant, but this one is particularly satisfying because it allows the Wolverines to play for the Big Ten tournament championship.
No. 1 seed Michigan blew a double-digit lead in the second half, but held on down the stretch for a 72-69 win against the rival Buckeyes in the Big Ten semifinals.
It snapped an 0-6 mark against the Buckeyes at the tournament and vaulted the Wolverines into Sunday's title game against the Michigan State/Wisconsin winner.
Michigan is making the NCAA selection committee pay attention, as it presumably evaluates the final No. 1 seed.
It was another clutch game for the Wolverines (25-7), who are now 7-0 against Big Ten teams in games of five points or less.
Ohio State (25-9) struggled down the stretch as Aaron Craft missed two free throws and a three-pointer, and couldn't get a shot off on the final possession at the buzzer.
Michigan entered 0-6 against the Buckeyes in the Big Ten tournament, getting bounced by OSU in three of the previous four years.
The Buckeyes used a 10-2 surge midway through the second half to take its first lead since the opening minutes at 61-60.
From there the Wolverines struggled with every chance to grab a lead with missed free throws, untimely turnovers and the usual defensive interior lapses but were able to stay close, getting the eventual game winner on a Nik Stauskas (18 points) reverse with two minutes remaining for the 71-68 lead.
Though the Wolverines led the Big Ten, shooting 78% from the line in conference play, it wasn't there today, hitting only 10-19 from the line, but Spike Albrecht hit one for the final point.
It was shocking considering how the game started.
Michigan started the first half looking like it did against Illinois 2½ weeks ago, raining three-pointers and getting nearly every shot it wanted.
That led to the blistering 32-16 start in the first 12½ minutes, hitting 12-of-17 shots and 7 of 10 from three-point range.
But while Michigan slipped ot a normal offensive pace, its defense looked like the rest of the season.
That allowed the Buckeyes to score 15 points in the last 6½ minutes.
As impressive as the Wolverines' first half was - hitting 64% from the field and 61% from three-point range qualifies - allowing Ohio State to shoot 52% kept the Buckeyes close, as the margin got to just four at the break, 41-37.
Contact Mark Snyder: email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @mark__snyder.