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First Round: #8 Michigan v #9 Tennesee

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Dang, I spelled TENNESSEE wrong in the title --- doh! MOD; you can help me?

Can I buy an S :bandit:

Edited by JonBenke

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UM-1.jpg

U-M sophomore Darius Morris and coach John Beilein

Ann Arbor— A few hundred fans joined the Michigan basketball team on Sunday evening to watch the NCAA Tournament selection show on the scoreboard screen at Crisler Arena. It's a scene that is becoming familiar at Crisler — and Michigan fans hope it becomes a tradition.

The players, seated in leather chairs on the baseline, erupted when Michigan was announced as a No. 8 seed in the West Regional. Michigan will face ninth-seeded Tennessee (19-14) in Charlotte, N.C., on Friday. The game will be broadcast on truTV.

Freshman Tim Hardaway Jr. couldn't even wait to see Michigan's seed or opponent before he started celebrating.

"I just the saw the block 'M' first," Hardaway said. "I was so excited, my heart was pounding and words can't describe the feelings. This is what I came here for."

The selection completes an unlikely turnaround for U-M (20-13), which missed the Tournament last season and lost its top two scorers. The Wolverines have no seniors and started three freshmen for the early part of the season. After a 10-2 nonconference start, they started 1-6 in the Big Ten, finished tied for fourth at 9-9 and lost to No. 1 Ohio State in the conference tournament.

"It's tremendous. We worked hard all year and it shows that the selection committee had great respect for our conference and what we've done this year," Beilein said.

Many pundits pegged Michigan as a bubble team until Friday's win over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament, when many bracketologists had them firmly in the Tournament — their first since 2009.

Coach John Beilein still wasn't sure and worried about making the field at all.

"You just never know what's going to happen. I would have been very disappointed," Beilein said. "But now that I see where we're seeded, I don't know what I was worried about."

Not here to lose

Hardaway said the season turned around after the loss to Minnesota in January, which stretched the losing streak to six.

He said he talked to Beilein and made a statement that became a personal mantra.

"The first thing I said (to Beilein) after the Minnesota game was that I didn't come here to lose," Hardaway said. "Whatever we need to do to get wins and get into the NCAA Tournament, I'm willing to do it."

In the next game, Michigan beat rival Michigan State in East Lansing and things started to look up.

Preseason predictions had U-M finishing in the bottom of the conference, so making a run toward a winning record and the Tournament has defied those expectations.

"What we've done so far has just been incredible — especially for such a young group of guys to block out all the people saying we would be last in the league or even going through bad times and saying we had just the one good year and it was a fluke," junior Zack Novak said. "We had a heck of an uphill climb the second half of the season and it's been nerve-wracking."

Novak and fellow junior Stu Douglass are the only two players on the roster who were on the 2009 Tournament team.

"I don't think you can compare the two," Novak said. "(In 2009), ending the drought was special, with that group of guys — another case where people didn't think we would do a lot of good things."

Youth rewarded

With so many freshmen and having to overhaul his lineup, Beilein could finally celebrate the achievement with the fans, but he was never sure if this team could make the Tournament.

"When you go into a year with that many freshmen, you just hope you can get out of there alive and that you can show progress enough to keep them focused for future years," Beilein said. "Who knows … you might get a postseason, win your tournament or do something special at the end. For right now, we'll take it and keep moving forward and try to keep the season going as long as we can."

For Hardaway and the freshmen, it could be the start of seeing Michigan return to prominence in the Big Ten — or maybe even nationally.

"It's a program-changing thing to get a comfortable seed and not waiting until the last minute like they did two years ago. It's awesome," Hardaway said.

Rebuilding the program

Athletic director Dave Brandon celebrated with the fans at Crisler, which is set to undergo a $97 renovation during the offseason and be ready for the start of next season.

"We're investing $97 million in this facility because we believe in this program and its importance to the university," Brandon said. "Basketball is special at Michigan and it has been for a long time. We've had some disappointing years, but this year is a turning point. These young players coming together to accomplish this is very important."

The Tournament selection gives the players and fans — and recruits — something to look forward to next season. Expectations will be higher and the pressure will be on the team to do better, but that was all part of the plan when Novak arrived as a freshman and helped the team make the Tournament.

"We wanted to get Michigan basketball to the point where they're getting in the Tournament every year and getting back to the top of college basketball," Novak said. "Getting there two out of three years is definitely going in the right direction and there's a bright future."

The future isn't as far away as it seems — but it's a long way from the past.

Five facts about Tennessee

1. The Volunteers (19-14, 8-8) finished fifth in the East Division in the Southeastern Conference. Of the two divisions, the East is the tougher, as it includes three ranked teams: Kentucky, Florida and Vanderbilt. Tennessee hasn't won consecutive games since Feb. 3, when it capped a three-game winning streak by beating Auburn.

2. Tennessee has made the NCAA Tournament six straight times among its 18 appearances. Its best finish was last season, when it lost to Michigan State in a regional final. The Vols never have reached the Final Four and are 16-19 in their Tournament. They have been seeded ninth two previous times, last in 2009. As a No. 9 seed, they are 1-2, including a loss to Charlotte in '09. In first-round games, Tennessee is 10-7.

3. Bruce Pearl, famous (or infamous) for his orange blazers, is in his sixth season at Tennessee. He had to sit out the Vols' first eight games (5-3) of the SEC season for violating NCAA rules in contacting recruits and misleading investigators in the aftermath. Pearl reached the 300-win mark faster than any other coach in NCAA history and led Southern Indiana to the Division II title in 1995.

4. Tennessee went 4-7 in its last 11 games and lost earlier in the season to Oakland, which also made the Tournament. It has several wins over teams that were ranked: Pittsburgh (No. 3), Villanova (7), Vanderbilt (18) and Memphis (22).

5. Scotty Hopson, a 6-foot-7 junior forward, is the Volunteers' leading scorer at 17.4 points per game. He's shooting 45 percent from the field and 38 percent from 3-point range. He had a season-best 32 points in a loss to Georgia. Tobias Harris, a 6-8 freshman forward, averages 15.2 points and 7.3 rebounds, and 6-10 senior center Brian Williams adds 7.0 points and 7.7 rebounds.

U-M turnaround continues with NCAA selection | detnews.com | The Detroit News

Edited by JonBenke

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Michigan congrats, you get an 8 seed and rewarded with....Duke in the 2nd round.

I think I would rather play UCLA/Florida like the draw MSU got. Tennessee and UCLA are almost a toss up if you ask me and Duke is quite a bit better than Florida.

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I agree, J'Mac ... I even said earlier, as long as we stay the hell away from Duke - lol - oh well...

Mentioned it in the national thread in regards to FSU about how most mock brackets had us 8-10 and I said there I would prefer a 10 over an 8 or 9 before the bracket come out....just unfortunate we got a 10 where our 2 could have been a 1 in ND. In general though I think a 10 is a slightly better seed to get than a 8.

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Mentioned it in the national thread in regards to FSU about how most mock brackets had us 8-10 and I said there I would prefer a 10 over an 8 or 9 before the bracket come out....just unfortunate we got a 10 where our 2 could have been a 1 in ND. In general though I think a 10 is a slightly better seed to get than a 8.

I think FSU gives ND all it can handle assuming they get past A&M...Too bad about Singleton, because with him in the fold, I think I'd be tempted to peg FSU for that one.

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I think FSU gives ND all it can handle assuming they get past A&M...Too bad about Singleton, because with him in the fold, I think I'd be tempted to peg FSU for that one.

Singleton may very well play, he was dressed and warmed up before the VT game...but how effective he is will be a different story. FSU can defend and that doesnt go in slumps, but which offense shows up is the key.

Didnt want to hijack this thread, was just using that as a point on why I like 10 seed over 8 seed in most cases.

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No big deal. Just beat duke and you get a nice and easy 4 seed in the sweet 16. Wait, Texas is a 4?! This draw is the worst. I guess we won't win the national championship this year.

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No big deal. Just beat duke and you get a nice and easy 4 seed in the sweet 16. Wait, Texas is a 4?! This draw is the worst. I guess we won't win the national championship this year.

We got a terrible draw, no way Texas should have been a 4 seed. A bid to the sweet 16 sure would be awesome though, although in my preliminary brackets I have Duke winning it all, tough to pick against your team.

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Speaking of crappy draws, how about Oakland...going into the selection show I thought highly of Oakland and was considering picking them to win a game or two, and then they get Texas as a 4 seed, ouch.

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Speaking of crappy draws, how about Oakland...going into the selection show I thought highly of Oakland and was considering picking them to win a game or two, and then they get Texas as a 4 seed, ouch.

Yeah, and I just dont understand Texas as a 4 seed, I could see a 3, but not a 4. I dont give Oakland much of a chance in that game.

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Really liked Rosenbergs article today, took a shot at Bruce Pearl and Ohio States football program, I dont usually agree with Mike, but today was good.

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One thing I am confident about is that Michigan was not an 8 seed in the s curve. Based the seeds, they had to have Michigan Illinois msu psu in that order. I would love to be able figure out why they moved up. We also must be ahead of Tennessee

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One thing I am confident about is that Michigan was not an 8 seed in the s curve. Based the seeds, they had to have Michigan Illinois msu psu in that order. I would love to be able figure out why they moved up. We also must be ahead of Tennessee

Well the head of the selection committee works at a Big Ten institution (OSU)....

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Given that game thread graphics take a minimum of two months to develop, I can only devise one thing:

Benke is on the NCAA selection committee. There's no other way to explain how he knew that UM would play Tennessee in the first round more than two months ago.

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Given that game thread graphics take a minimum of two months to develop, I can only devise one thing:

Benke is on the NCAA selection committee. There's no other way to explain how he knew that UM would play Tennessee in the first round more than two months ago.

This is actually pretty funny.

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So how do you guys see this game playing out on Friday. Is everyone taking work off for it?

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