But with one win in its final two games, Michigan can put itself atop the Big Ten standings for good in the history books and erase an outright conference championship drought that goes back to 1986.
The Wolverines are humming, they are fresh of wining their second co-Big Ten regular season championship in three seasons after beating Minnesota 66-56 at Crisler Center on Saturday night. A feat, that many thought seemed unlikely after a 6-4 start in non-conference play, and the loss of Mitch McGary to season ending back surgery.
But now, this Michigan (21-7, 13-3 Big Ten) team has a chance to what the 1989 national championship team were unable to do or the Fab Five and even Trey Burke's national runners up squad -- and that's win an outright Big Ten title.
"We have two remaining games, one away, one home," Beilein said. "And these are going to be difficult. Everybody is patting you on your back – and that's going to be your enemy. And we cannot let that (happen). We have to handle this really well. Because we want that outright championship."
And it all starts at Illinois (17-12, 6-10) this Tuesday.
"And so go to Illinois, which is tough place." Beilein said on the Illini. "That was a huge win (at Michigan State on Saturday). Nobody would have thought that would happen. So obviously, they are playing well. They went up to Minnesota and won as well, they have really hit their stride at a pretty good time."
Senior Jordan Morgan knows success at Michigan more than any other player on U-M's roster. He is on the verge of making his fourth NCAA tournament, he just won his second co-Big Ten title and, of course, made the Final Four run a season ago.
"I don't really look back on it too much," Morgan said on past success. "I try to just stay focus on where we are at right now. Focus for my teammates. I think I lose too much focus if I try to focus to look back on the past. Maybe when it's all said and done I will reflect on it. But right now, I am so in the moment right now. That's where I am at."
Morgan, who was only a tip-ball against Indiana from giving Michigan a co-Big Ten title a season ago, is not taking the Illini lightly.
"It's nothing like trying to fight for a win on the road," Morgan said. "Teams are giving everything they got. Especially, Illinois, they are a really good team. They've had a tough run about things lately. But obviously they fought back today. They are trying to get themselves back position to make the tournament. So we got to be ready to play a great game."
Nike Satuskas, who is the front-runner to win Big Ten player of the year, is coming off another strong shooting performance, where he scored a game-high 21-points against the Boilermakers. He is well aware of the "opportunity" that presents itself at Illinois.
"We understand the magnitude of the opportunity in front of us," Stauskas said. "We just want to do everything we can to clinch this. We've worked extremely hard the whole year. The last thing we want to do is slack off now when we have it right in front of us."
Michigan plays at Illinois this Tuesday, tip-off is scheduled at 6 p.m.