It wasn’t really that long ago when Michigan missed the NCAA tournament on a regular basis. From 1999-2008, in fact, it never went dancing. Now, the Wolverines have become one of the premier programs in the nation.
(AP) Nik Stauskas and Michigan figured out the best way to overcome Texas’ advantage inside. Just keeping hitting from long range. Stauskas made four of Michigan’s 14 3-pointers, and the Wolverines beat the Longhorns 79-65 on Saturday to advance to the NCAA tournament’s Sweet 16 for the second straight year.
It’s a big day for the Big Ten, as No. 2 Michigan, No. 2 Wisconsin and No. 4 Michigan State (I still can’t believe Sparty is a No. 4!) look to punch their ticket for the Sweet 16. Here are four thoughts on today’s games: Wisconsin vs. Oregon (7:45); Michigan State vs. Harvard (8:40). Michigan took down Texas in the first game.
Three teams and three games. That’s what it has come down to for the Big Ten on the opening weekend of the NCAA tournament.
Ohio State dropped a tight one against an in-state “Little Brother,” which had to make the loss all the more frustrating. There wasn’t anything especially unique about this loss—once again, Ohio State’s offense stalled out when it had to play in the half-court. The outside shooting was tepid (3 of 12 on 3s), and the ballhandling was suspect (the Buckeyes turned it over on 21 percent of their possessions; Aaron Craft and LaQuinton Ross each had five of their own). And on the 27 occasions when Ohio State had an opportunity to rebound one of its frequent misses, Thad Matta’s team came up with the ball just three times.
The first full-fledged day of NCAA tournament action was a success for the Big Ten. Yes, No. 11 Iowa lost a play-in game to No. 11 Tennessee on Wednesday. And No. 6 Ohio State fell to No. 11 Dayton today. But neither loss was a stunner. But the fact the defeats came early in the tourney, it caught the attention of critics. No matter, the Big Ten’s “Big Three” opened with victories today. And they looked good doing it.