Back in December 2008, the Michigan basketball team beat Duke at home just two weeks after losing to the Blue Devils at Madison Square Garden. Although Michigan's upset over UCLA a couple weeks earlier served as an enormous sign that progress was being made under head coach John Beilein, the win over Duke was Michigan's statement that an NCAA tournament bid was a possibility. By the end of the season, Michigan did just enough to secure its first trip to the Big Dance in a decade, and that win over Duke was a big reason why it made the NCAA tournament
This year, Michigan's regular season followed a similar path minus a win over a big-time program like Duke. Michigan did sweep Michigan State, but upset bids against the likes of Syracuse, Kansas and Ohio State came up short. The Wolverines made the field as a No. 8 seed anyway, and now it will get yet another chance to upset a big-time program when it faces the Duke Blue Devils at 2:45 p.m. this afternoon. Unlike the previous upset bids that came up short, this game is win or go home for Michigan.
The Wolverines are in the third round of the 2011NCAA tournament after throttling Tennessee for a 30-point win. Michigan played lights out basketball in the second half and went on a number of big runs. Despite not making a single free throw during the game, Michigan won (no other team in NCAA tournament history has won a game without a made free throw) and won in blowout fashion. The victory could very well serve as the end of Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl's time with the Volunteers.
Win or lose, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski's job is obviously safe. He led the Blue Devils to another national championship a year ago, and their bid for a repeat got started with a win over Hampton on Friday. Duke won the ACC tournament last week in Greensboro, North Carolina, and now it will look to advance to the Sweet 16 by beating Michigan today in Charlotte.
Michigan's game against Duke will tip off at approximately 2:45 p.m. CBS will have the broadcast, and Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg will announce the game.
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.