The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

96° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Anticipation high for Michigan against Duke

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There were quite a few sleepless Michigan Wolverines on Thursday night, anticipating their first NCAA tournament game against No. 9 seed Tennessee, on Friday.

So the excitement for Sunday’s 2:45 p.m. tipoff against No. 1 seed Duke reaches another level.

“”Tomorrow is definitely one of those days, you can’t wait for it,”” Michigan wing Tim Hardaway Jr. said Saturday. “”You gotta (seize) the moment this could be the last time for any of us. We never might make it back here again. Just embrace the moment.””

The players know Duke’s status as the defending national champion, the nation’s most recognizable program with the iconic coach and the bevy of McDonald’s All-Americans. The Fab Five connection is a distant memory — not even theirs because they’re so young — a connection in name only

What these Wolverines may not realize how this opportunity is.

“”The only thing I’ve told them is don’t count on these things just (repeating,) that we’ll get back here again,”” coach John Beilein said Saturday.

“”Guys blow out knees, you just don’t have these opportunities again. You never know when you can get to a Sweet 16.””

Michigan has played only two Sweet 16 games since 1994 and lost both.

A win on Sunday and suddenly, this Michigan team becomes the talk of March Madness.

That would be a big change for the Wolverines. They have embraced being the underdog.

“”That’s like the story of our season,”” Michigan guard Darius Morris said Saturday. “”Came in, preseason projections weren’t in our favor, had us at the bottom of the Big Ten. And I think individually everybody (here,) kind of throughout their basketball career has been an underdog, if you look at the players and where they was ranked at as far as coming in high school.

“”We’ve all embraced that chip that we play with on our shoulder. And I think it definitely helps us out there is the reason why we fight so hard just to prove everybody wrong.””

More to Discover
Activate Search