At the beginning of the season, I would have laughed pretty hard if someone predicted the Michigan basketball team to not only make the 2011 NCAA tournament, but be a No. 8 seed. I would have laughed even harder if someone told me that back in January when Michigan was 1-6 in the Big Ten. The Wolverines were not expected to contend for an NCAA tournament bid, let alone secure a single-digit seed, especially after having such a rough in-conference start.
Despite how not promising this season looked for Michigan, the Wolverines' young team immensely improved as the season progressed, and after a tremendous finish to the regular season they are now back in the NCAA tournament. Following a decade of zero NCAA tournament appearances, John Beilein has led Michigan to the Big Dance twice in the last three years, and this time Michigan is a No. 8 seed.
The Wolverines' opponent is Tennessee, the No. 9 seed in the NCAA bracket's West Region. The Volunteers have had a very up and down season. After winning the first seven games of the season, with the seventh in that streak coming against Pittsburgh, Tennessee proceeded to lose to Oakland, Charlotte and USC. The Volunteers had a stretch at the beginning of January where they lost three of four games, and they lost seven of their final 11 games if you count the SEC tournament. After a three-game losing streak, Tennessee got into a rotation of winning one game and losing the next to finish the season.
Today's game between the Wolverines and Volunteers will be played in Charlotte. It is set to tip off at 12:40 p.m. (ET), and Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg will call the game for truTV.
If you are in need of a printable NCAA bracket to keep track of the tournament, make sure to download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.