Michigan basketball team will play Tennessee in first round of NCAA tournament
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
The Michigan basketball team is headed back to the NCAA tournament.
After sitting on the proverbial bubble for most of the last three weeks, the Wolverines saw their names appear on the CBS Selection Show telecast for the second time in three years. They're a No. 8 seed and will face No. 9 Tennessee in Charlotte, N.C., at 12:40 p.m. on Friday.
Michigan held a selection show party at Crisler Arena, where renovations have already started. About half of the maize seats in the upper bowl have been ripped out.
The assembled crowd, mostly students, filled about four lower bowl sections of Crisler. When Michigan coach John Beilein was greeted by a standing ovation when he walked into the arena.
In his 19 years as a Division I head coach, Beilein has made the NCAA tournament six times, including twice in four seasons at Michigan. In those games, he is 7-5 with a Sweet 16 and Elite Eight appearance.
This year’s Michigan team has just three players — guards Zack Novak, Stu Douglass and Corey Person — who experienced the 2009 NCAA tournament in Kansas City. The Wolverines beat Clemson before losing to Oklahoma.
This is Michigan’s 22nd NCAA tournament appearance — the 18th officially recognized by the school due to NCAA sanctions — and the Wolverines have an overall record of 42-20 (35-16 when adjusted for sanctions).
Michigan has won first-round games the past two times it reached the NCAA tournament, beating Clemson, 62-59, in 2009 and knocking off Davidson, 80-61, in 1998.
This year’s Michigan team climbed into the NCAA tournament by finishing 20-13 after starting the Big Ten season 1-6. The Wolverines went 8-4 over the final 12 games of their season, including a sweep of Michigan State and top 50 wins over Penn State and Illinois.
The Wolverines have been led by freshman guard Tim Hardaway Jr., who is scoring 13.9 points a game, and sophomore point guard Darius Morris, who was named a third-team All-Big Ten performer and Michigan’s leading scorer at 15.2 points a game.
Morris is also one of the nation’s top assist men, averaging 6.67 a game.