Two years ago, Selection Sunday was a joyous occasion for Michigan basketball fans. The Wolverines made the NCAA basketball tournament for the first time in a decade, and it was a sign that the program was on the upswing. A year ago, however, Michigan was shut out of not only the NCAA tournament, but other postseason events as well since its record was below .500. An enormously disappointing season left people wondering if head coach John Beilein could get it done in Ann Arbor.
At the beginning of the 2010-11 season, expectations were low for the Wolverines. Returning very few players with real experience and having no seniors, this young team was expected to go to the NIT in a best-case scenario. During a 1-6 start in the Big Ten, even the NIT seemed like a stretch.
Just when everything seemed to be falling apart, however, Beilein showed how great of a coach he is. Michigan won in East Lansing over the rival Michigan State Spartans and proceeded to win nine of its final 13 games. The Wolverines first played themselves into consideration for the bubble, then onto the list of bubble teams and finally into the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament.
Michigan's opponent in the 2011 NCAA basketball tournament will be Tennessee. The Wolverines are a No. 8 seed in the West region, meaning Tennessee is a No. 9 seed. The two teams will meet on Friday, March 18 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
The winner of the Michigan/Tennessee game will likely advance to play No. 1 seed Duke, which has No. 16 Hampton in the first round.