–Michigan coach John Beilein brings a resume heavy with postseason experience to this year’s NCAA Tournament. Beilein took the Wolverines to the NCAA two years ago and went 1-1. This will be his sixth trip to the NCAA as a head coach, having taken teams from Canisius, Richmond, West Virginia and Michigan to The Big Dance. Beilein has a 7-5 record in the Division I NCAA Tournament. He has also been to the NIT six times, compiling a 14-6 record in that event and a championship in 2007 at West Virginia.
–Before Michigan qualified for the 2008-09 NCAA Tournament field, there had been a drought of 12 years in which the program had failed to make the event.
–The rebuilding project at Michigan has been a significant one. Following last season’s exit from the Big Ten tournament, the Wolverines had to replace nearly 70 percent of their scoring since G Manny Harris left early for the NBA and C/F DeShawn Sims graduated.
John Beilein, fourth year at Michigan, second NCAA appearance at Michigan
KEYS TO VICTORY
When Michigan gets the ball to the basket, usually via the slashing drives of sophomore PG Darius Morris and freshman G Tim Hardaway Jr., the Wolverines are very effective. Not only do Morris and Hardaway often finish at the rim, but they also have become adept at dumping the ball off inside for easy scores, or kicking it out to the 3-point arc, where junior F Zack Novak and junior G Stu Douglass do most of their damage. When the hybrid form of the inside/outside game is working, the Wolverines are very tough to beat.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“It’s exciting, but I felt like it was something we deserved. I felt like we played well enough down the stretch to make the NCAA Tournament. Now that we’re in, we have to go out and make things happen.” — Michigan junior F Zack Novak, on his team learning it was in the NCAA field.
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