Monday night's basketball game at Crisler Arena between Michigan and Concordia might seem like a dress rehearsal for Friday night's match-up versus Utah. But making the four-mile trip across Ann Arbor to play the Wolverines is a big deal for the Cardinals, a NAIA program.
"It really is a big opportunity for us. I’m sure Michigan didn’t realize when they scheduled it to what extent this is going to be great for us," said Ben Limback, Concordia’s basketball coach and athletic director.
"Best-case scenario we pull off the biggest upset in Concordia history. Worst-case scenario, we walk away with life-long memories. It’s an opportunity that these guys might not have ever had and they’ll be able to talk about for the rest of their lives and tell their grandkids they played in Crisler Arena."
Concordia has just about sold out its allotment of 500 seats (though I'd be willing to bet plenty of seats will be available at Crisler), and the school's admissions department is even using the game to recruit potential students.
Senior point guard Marius Williams is the Cardinals' leading scorer at 17.2 points per game. He also leads the team in assists and steals. Limback calls him the closest Concordia has to a Division I player, and he has experience against bigger schools from when he played at Arkansas-Monticello.
Michigan is looking for its third straight win, following a two-game losing streak. On Saturday, the Wolverines rallied to beat former coach Tommy Amaker and his Harvard squad, 65-62.