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Maize ‘n Brew NCAA Tournament Guide 2018: Michigan’s March Begins

Prepare for Michigan’s tournament run with a rooting guide and some staff picks

Michigan v Kansas

Hello there, old friend. I’ve missed you. You look as exuberant and youthful as ever, NCAA Tournament. The spectacle you provide the world for three weeks in March is filled with #MarchSadness and some pretty good basketball too. And Luther Vandross.

I appreciate that despite a lot of recent troubles in college basketball, you’re able to rise above it all and put on a show when we need it most. Just be careful what you say around microphones, never know who might be listening. Productivity across the land will plummet for two days, but we can’t stay mad at you. You give us heartbreak mixed with onions plus some surrender cobras and viral videos of dancing coaches.

We embrace you, oh glorious tournament. Take us on a magical adventure that doesn’t even require leaving the house. Things will get weird, and we’re here for that. And rest easy, Spartans, Middle Tennessee State is not in the field this year.

Yesterday, I fell down a YouTube rabbit hole watching some of Michigan’s more recent tournament runs, and I failed to immediately remember an important fact: Michigan wasn’t in the dang tournament for ten years until John Beilein’s third season in 2009.

But now Michigan is a regular entrant into the tournament, and what a feeling that is, which then spurned me to relive the following:

2012 - Stubbed their toe in a first round game against THE Ohio Bobcats.

2013 - National Champions**

2014 - Elite Eight after downing Wofford, Texas and Tennessee

2015 - :(

2016 - Forgot how good Notre Dame can be at basketball too.

2017 - Derailed by a very good Oregon team after taking out Oklahoma State and Louisville.

The Maize ‘n Brew staff have opted to fight it out in bracket form (join in here). I parsed some of our brackets down to a few highlights:

Josh LaFond

Final Four: Arizona, Michigan, Villanova, Kansas

Upset special: (12) Davidson over (5) Kentucky

Homer opinion on Michigan: Potential to be bounced in the third round by Providence should the Friars make it that far.

Champion: Michigan, over Villanova...which, what a feat that’d be.

Luke Ghiardi

Final Four: Arizona, Michigan, Villanova, Duke

Upset special: (11) Loyola-Chicago over (3) Tennessee in second round

Homer opinion on Michigan: Potential to get knocked out in Sweet Sixteen.

Champion: Duke

Trevor Woods

Final Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Villanova, Duke

Upset special: (10) Providence over anybody

Homer opinion on Michigan: Look out for Houston in round of 32!

Champion: Villanova

Kevin Bunkley

Final Four: Kentucky, Villanova, Xavier, Auburn

Upset Special: (11) Loyola-Chicago over (6) Miami

Homer opinion on Michigan: Elite eight match-up against Xavier is a trap!

Champion: Villanova

Daniel Allweiss

Final Four: Kentucky, Michigan, Duke, Villanova

Upset special: (10) Butler over Arkansas and maybe even Purdue

Homer opinion on Michigan: Facing North Carolina again could be death.

Champion: Duke (though it pained Daniel to pick them)

Von Lozon

Final Four: Villanova, Kansas, Michigan, Arizona

Upset special: (12) Davidson over (5) Kentucky

Homer opinion on Michigan: Playing North Carolina again scares me.

Champion: Kansas

We are all largely in agreement that Michigan’s biggest test, should they make it to later rounds, is going to be in the sweet sixteen where North Carolina will likely await, or in the elite eight against whoever survives the fight between Xavier, Gonzaga, or Ohio State. And Luke and Von both seem to think Michigan will run into a wall against Arizona in the final four.

Trevor loves Providence’s seeding, and Von and Josh are going in hard on Davidson to pull an upset. Luke and I are high on Loyola-Chicago to take out Miami. And our final fours have a general trend, but none of us have a clue who will come out of the Midwest region.

As we were discussing the tournament, we came up with a Michigan fan’s viewing and rooting guide for the next few days of basketball, because we all know this tournament is going to be bonkers, and also because we care.

Thursday games that involve potential and likely match-ups for Michigan:

(4) Gonzaga vs (13) UNC Greensboro, 1:30pm on TNT

(5) Ohio State vs (12) S. Dakota St, 4:00pm on TNT

(6) Houston vs (11) San Diego State, 7:20pm on TBS

(4) Arizona vs (13) Buffalo, 9:40pm on CBS

Friday games that involve potential and likely match-ups for Michigan:

(7) Texas A&M vs (10) Providence, 12:15pm on CBS

(2) North Carolina vs (15) Lipscomb, 2:45pm on CBS

(1) Xavier vs (16) Texas Southern, 7:20pm on TBS

And of course:

(3) Michigan State vs (14) Bucknell, 7:10pm on CBS

Everything gets underway at lunchtime, and just remember, all the predictions get thrown out the window as soon as the first tip off.

Enjoy the chaos.

**The block was clean.