Michigan is into the big dance, after a one year absence from the tournament, all thanks to a big victory against BIG 10 Regular-Season champ Indiana, off of a miracle game-winning shot by unlikely Hero Kam Chatman.
The Wolverines start their tournament on Wednesday at 9:10pm in a “First Four”, a play-in game to determine who will play the #7 seed, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Michigan is square off with Tulsa, the last team to make it into the tournament. Many believe that the Maize and Yellow won’t last long in March, but I for one believe that my team will be going far, even without star guard Caris LeVert.
Before the Big 10 tournament, Michigan was on a slide after losing 4 of their last 5 games. But they came to play in Indianapolis for sure. A double OT victory over Northwestern, followed by the upset versus the Hoosiers, not to mention wins in the season against Texas, Maryland, and Purdue, proved to the committee that they should be in the Madness.
The reason I believe that Michigan will go far, is due to their under-rated, but formidable starting five of, Derrick Walton Jr., MAAR (Muhammed-Ali Abdur Rahkman), Duncan Robinson, Zak Irvin, and Mark Donnal.
Derrick Walton had a terrific performance against Indiana, setting an all-time record for most assists in a single game with 12. He is the motor that runs this team, runs the offense very efficiently, and is a great leader. If he starts shooting the ball well, the Wolverines will have no problem.
MAAR had some real big shoes to fill after the loss to Caris LeVert, and he has played well in his absence, especially in last weekend. He is a good scorer, very versatile, and has been pretty consistent since the LeVert injury.
Zak Irvin has been the most consistent player this season for us, averaging about 12 points a game. He took it to another gear when Caris left, and will be leading the Wolverines to something special if he continues to score.
Duncan Robinson has really emerged. He reminds me of Nik Stauskas, as he just makes it rain from downtown 45% field goal percentage from downtown. He offers very solid height at 6’8, and is a underrated slasher and passer. Watch for him to go off.
Mark Donnal is small for a center at 6’9, but Michigan plays small due to their lack of height at the forward position. But with that being said, he is still a very good player.
If everything clicks, I believe that the Wolverines will at least make it to the elite eight.