College Basketball Archive

NCAA National Championship Preview: Michigan vs. Louisville

The last time Michigan was in standing 40 minutes from a national title was 20 years and three days ago. That was, of course, the infamous “time out” game against North Carolina. (If you’re unfamiliar – and if you are you’re probably not reading this, but here goes anyway – Michigan’s Chris Webber called a time out with 11 seconds remaining and the Wolverines trailing 73-71. The problem: Michigan was out of time outs. The technical foul resulted in two free throws – both makes – and the ball back to North Carolina. Michigan lost the title game 77-71). Nevertheless, as many bad memories as Michigan fans have from that game, getting back to basketball’s title game is something to celebrate in itself. According to Kenpom Michigan road to the Final Four was the eighth hardest (out of 44 teams) in the 11 years he’s been filling our brains with tempo-free statistics. If Michigan wins the title, I’m curious where the Wolverines’ run would rank out of the 11 champions. While it can be argued that these aren’t exactly the two best teams in the country playing for the title (I would still say Indiana and Kansas are¬†better overall teams than Michigan) there is no

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Final Four Preview: Michigan vs. Syracuse

It has been 20 years since Michigan last reached the Final Four. That is, of course, if you ignore vacated records since Michigan’s Fab Five had both their 1992 and 1993 Final Four appearances (and national title game appearances) wiped from the record books. Regardless, this is an exciting time in the state of Michigan because, for the first time in more than 20 years both Michigan and Michigan State have elite teams. That said, this weekend isn’t about Michigan State – a team that had reached six Final Fours, seven Elite Eights and won a national championship since the last time Michigan reached the Sweet 16 (1994) and this season. This is about how the nation’s last undefeated team back in January, survived a fall from the No. 1 ranking, endured a brutal 1-3 stretch against the Big Ten’s best, withstood heartbreak in the season finale that had a layup fallen the other way a Big Ten championship would have been in the rafters, and shook off a quarterfinal loss in the Big Ten Tournament to take a slap-in-the-face No. 4 seed and march to the 2013 Final Four. Did it take some luck? Sure, but every March run has a dash of luck.

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Big Ten Tournament Preview

Not to be a killjoy but the Big Ten Tournament isn’t as wide open as you might imagine. Sure the conference – this year more than ever – is loaded but here’s a simple yet important fact: Ohio State, Michigan State, Wisconsin and Illinois have won 11 of the 15 tournaments. Much like Duke’s seemingly single-handed dominance of the ACC Tournament (with UNC success sprinkled in), these four horses have pretty much dominated the Big Ten Tournament. Even more interesting: The No. 1 seed has won six of the past eight tournaments, losing in the finals of another one. So, as much as we all want to be giddy about the winner of the 8/9 Illinois/Minnesota game ¬†making a run history says we need to relax and drink a tall glass of reality. This statistical trio isn’t meant to sway you from looking at a sleeper team making a deep run, just that your sleeper team probably won’t win the whole thing. On four occasions the championship game has featured a No. 8, No. 9, No. 10 and No. 11 seed. While all those teams lost, it leaves open the possibility that a likely NIT-bound team could have a 50/50 shot in the title game

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