ANN ARBOR, Mich. – The seesaw season for the Michigan Wolverines gifted them another trip to Indianapolis, as the surprising No. 11 seed will face No. 6 seed Colorado State in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Michigan players will enter the round of 64 with a bitter taste in their mouths after they blew a 17-point lead in a de facto road game against the Indiana Hoosiers in Indy during the Big Ten Tournament.
We. Are. Dancing!— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) March 14, 2022
〽️🏀 | #GoBlue pic.twitter.com/Q8KUnKdc4N
“To be selected in the South Region to play in Indy vs. Colorado State, it was a roar of excitement in this room from the players and staff and support staff,” head coach Juwan Howard told M Go Blue TV. “We are very appreciative that we got chosen as one of the teams, and we are also looking forward to our first game action.”
“Last year, you know, it was just a matter of where we were going,” Hunter Dickinson told M Go Blue TV. “We knew that we were pretty much going to be a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, and so, you know, it wasn’t really that much stress with that. This year was a lot different. Some people didn’t know if we were going to be in at all, but, you know, I was pretty confident. To be called relatively early was pretty nice. It kind of took away the stress that some of the guys had.”
The Wolverines have alternated wins and losses the last two months of the season. Coming off such a debacle against Indiana, some believe you can pencil Michigan into the round of 32.
In their last 10 games, the Wolverines are 5-5, and with the devastating letdown vs. Indiana, fans and pundits are wondering how a team with the worst overall record in the tournament avoided having to prove its worth in the First Four.
|vs. Purdue||Win 82-58|
|vs. Ohio State||Loss 68-57|
|at Iowa||Win 84-79|
|at Wisconsin||Loss 77-63|
|vs. Rutgers||Win 77-62|
|vs. Illinois||Loss 93-85|
|vs. Michigan State||Win 87-70|
|vs. Iowa||Loss 82-71|
|at Ohio State||Win 75-69|
|at Indiana||Loss 74-69|
Be that as it may, preparations are in full effect for Thursday, and the men in maize are on the right side of the bracket to make another Sweet 16 run, if all the dominos fall in the right direction.
The bracket is set. How far can @umichbball go in the tourney? pic.twitter.com/rYMASrp7vS— Brandon L. Carr (@Carrpediem21) March 13, 2022
In the end, the selection committee decided Michigan was good enough to make the field and avoid the play-in round. The Wolverines received their dancing shoes with a 17-14 record -- 11-9 in Big Ten regular-season play.
The sixth-seeded Colorado State Rams went 25-5 overall and 14-4 in the Mountain West Conference. The Rams won one game in the league tournament before losing to San Diego State in the semifinals.
Since 2010, No. 11 seeds have a winning record against No. 6 seeds -- 23-21. But all time (including vacated games), No. 6 seeds are 104-60.
The men in maize, at their very best, are better than Colorado State. Hunter Dickinson looks to be a problem for the Rams, as they are undersized. The scouting report suggests the Rams struggled to rotate defensively with low post players that play big down low.
Tip-off for Thursday’s matchup is set for 12:15 p.m. on CBS. The Wolverines would play the winner of No. 3 Tennessee and No. 14 Longwood, if they advance.