WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Michigan head coach John Beilein stood on a podium at center court at the Verizon Center, with confetti falling on his head.
The veteran mentor, who has coached at every level of college hoops, choked up as he spoke about his team that survived an aborted airport takeoff Wednesday in Michigan that delayed its arrival to the nation's capital just before its first game Thursday.
But the Wolverines (24-11) capped a memorable week in Washington, winning for the fourth time in four days to upset No. 24 Wisconsin 71-56 and win the Big Ten Conference tournament title contest. Tourney MVP Derrick Walton, Jr. had 22 points and seven assists, D.J. Wilson had 17 points and all-tourney player Zak Irvin had 15 points and five assists.
"First of all, thanks to all of the great Michigan fans in the house. East coast, west coast, Michigan is (here) and we love it. Thank you very much," said Beilein, who coached at nearby Richmond from 1997 to 2002.
The Wolverines earned an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney and along with Wisconsin headed to rooms at the Verizon Center to watch Selection Sunday. The No. 8 seed Badgers will play in the East region on Thursday against No. 9 Virginia Tech while No. 7 seed Michigan will face No. 10 seed Oklahoma State in the Midwest on Friday.
"God is good. We overcame a lot," Walton said of surviving the plane scare. "Had a lot of trials and tribulations. All I can say is God is good. We're here for a reason. I wouldn't want to do this with any other group of guys. This hat feels real good on my head."
Said Irvin of the title: "It means so much to all of us. All of the adversity that we've been to throughout the whole tournament. We stuck together as a family and got the job done."
No. 2 seed Wisconsin (25-9) was paced by senior guard Bronson Koenig, who had 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Forwards Nigel Hayes and Ethan Happ added 14 points and 11 rebounds each. All three were all-tourney players.
"I am proud of our guys and how they battle," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "They played especially well in the first half defensively. It helps when the ball goes in. It makes the game a lot easier."
But it didn't go in enough for struggling Wisconsin, which has lost four of its last seven.
Michigan scored the first six points of the second half to take a 39-32 lead on a basket by D.J. Wilson, who had 17 points.
A layup and free throw by Irvin with 13:20 to play gave the Wolverines a 44-34 lead, and Wilson scored to make it 51-40 with 7:02 left.
Wisconsin trimmed the lead to 51-45. Reserve Duncan Robinson made a 3-pointer for the Wolverine to build the lead back to 57-47, but Wisconsin guard Zak Showalter responded with a 3-pointer to trim the lead to 57-50 with 3:34 left.
Wilson scored on a nice alley-oop with 3:08 to go to up the lead to 59-50. After a steal, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman scored to up the margin to 61-50 with 2:40 left.
Wilson had a dunk and Walton scored on a layup to make it 65-52 with 1:18 left as Michigan pulled away while shooting 56 percent from the field and making 10 of 23 three-point shots. The Wolverines had 17 assists on 27 made field goals.
"They made a lot of tough shots. Some of it is they are good shooters," Hayes said.
Walton made a trio of 3-pointers to give Michigan a 30-20 lead with 5:23 left in the first half as he capped a 9-0 run in a fast-paced first half.
Wisconsin went on a 7-0 run to pull within 30-27 and Koenig made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds of the first half to trim the margin to 33-32.
Michigan shot 59 percent from the field in the first half, including 7 of 13 from 3-point range. Wisconsin did not allow the Wolverines any offensive rebounds in the first half and the Badgers shot 54 percent from the field.
But Wisconsin knows it has more hoops ahead.
"We have been here before," Koenig said. "We know what to expect. We start looking forward to the next game we play."
Sunday, however, belonged to the blue and gold of Michigan.
"These seniors came in and we're on a great team," Beilein said. "After injuries, the next couple of years, a lot of people were doubting these guys. We had some significant injuries. These guys have been warhorses through it all. They've seen so much. Now to get them a championship like this, they deserve it."
NOTES: The Badgers were making their third title appearance in five years, and Wisconsin won the title in 2004, 2008 and 2015. ... Wisconsin won 68-64 at home on Jan. 17 against Michigan and lost on the road 64-58 on Feb. 16. ... There were just nine total fouls in the first half and each team shot 54 percent or better from the field.