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What Else Is Blue Keeps Dancing

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Both soccer teams are still playing in the NCAA Tournament, women’s basketball hosts a big one at Crisler, cross country goes to nationals, and field hockey’s season concludes.

UM Photography,D.Marshke

While things might be about to slow down significantly in the non-rev scene, if the soccer teams have anything to say about it, we’ve got another couple of busy weeks before we cruise into the December break.

This Week’s One Thing

NCAA Tournament Second Round: Men’s Soccer v. Wright State, Sun Nov. 24, 1p

Men’s soccer gets in on the “hosting NCAA tournament games” action this week. To give you a peek behind the curtain, this was originally written to gesture at the possibility it would be against Wright State but was basically a preview of the Michigan/Notre Dame game. NOPE! Wright State upset ND 3-2 on Thursday and will come to Ann Arbor this weekend. While in theory it’s an easier opponent on tired legs, their upset of Notre Dame shows that this isn’t a team to take lightly. It might be the last day of the year that it’s not insane to sit outside and watch soccer, and any time you have the chance to see the NCAA Tournament on campus its worth checking out.

TV Schedule

Fri Nov. 22:

NCAA Tournament Second Round, women’s soccer v. Texas Tech, 3p, ESPN3

Sun Nov 24:

NCAA Tournament Third Round, women’s soccer v. UNC/Colorado, 1p, ESPN3

NCAA Tournament Second Round, men’s soccer v. Wright St, 1p, BTN+ Free stream

Wed Nov. 27:

Women’s basketball @ EMU, 2p, ESPN+

Most other home and conference games on BTN+.

#21 Women’s Basketball (4-0)

Last Week: 88-53 W v. Kent St, 80-71 W @ Akron

Upcoming: Sat Nov. 23, 1p v. Notre Dame, Wed Nov. 27, 2p @ Eastern Michigan

Last week I released a full preview of the women’s basketball team, and I invite you to give it a look if you haven’t already. The Wolverines played two games last week in Akron, OH, getting an easy win over Kent St. before taking a hard-fought contest against the hosts. Michigan trailed by 4 early in the fourth before a 17-2 run gave Michigan a double digit lead with under 3 to play. The teams traded points from there but Akron wasn’t able to cut into their lead enough to matter. At 4-0, Michigan has climbed to #21 in the polls.

Michigan hosts Notre Dame this week in what at one point projected to be the most important game of the early season. That is probably still the case, though Notre Dame’s two early losses have taken some of the luster off of the matchup. Notre Dame is still a good team, and Michigan needs to be putting away good-not-elite teams at home if they want to be considered a national contender. This is going to be a good one, with Notre Dame looking to get their season back on track and Michigan looking to get its first win over a quality opponent. It’ll be over before the Indiana game kicks off, and it’d be great if Michigan saw a good crowd at Crisler. Michigan will then travel past where Stadium Blvd. becomes Washtenaw Ave. for a true road contest against Eastern Michigan, an afternoon matinee on Thanksgiving Wednesday.

#19 Women’s Soccer (16-5-1, 8-2-1 B1G)

Last Week: 2-1 W v. Bowling Green

Upcoming: NCAA Tournament Round 2: Fri Nov. 22, 3p v. Texas Tech, ESPN3

NCAA Tournament Round 3: Sun Nov. 24, 1p v. North Carolina/Colorado, ESPN3

Michigan continued it’s breakout season with a home victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Bowling Green got on the board first, sending the match to halftime at 1-0. But Michigan stormed back in the second half. Danielle Wolfe found the ball at her feet a yard out of goal to get Michigan the equalizer, before Nicki Hernandez found the game-winner with just over ten minutes to play. The keeper had come too far off her line and Hernandez chipped it right over her:

Now Michigan goes to Chapel Hill, NC for at least one more game. Michigan will first see #15 Texas Tech, a game that I previewed for our friends at Viva the Matadors. The Red Raiders are a good team, having finished second in the Big 12 with a tournament loss in the semis. Tech needed a shootout to beat Pepperdine at home in the first round. Overall it should be a very even game, and it’ll be exciting to watch Michigan try to beat strong national competition. The winner of that game will almost certainly take on North Carolina, the #1 seed in our bracket and #2 team in the country. The Tar Heels would be an extremely tough test, as whoever plays them will be trying to hand them only their second loss all year. The Tech/Michigan winner could get lucky and play Colorado, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.

#17 Men’s Soccer (11-4-5, 4-1-3 B1G)

Last Week: 1-0 W v. Penn St., 0-0 PK L v. Indiana

Upcoming: NCAA Tournament 2nd Round: Sun Nov. 24., 1p v. Notre Dame/Wright St, BTN+ (Free)

Michigan closed out the Big Ten Tournament with a win over Penn St and a tough loss to Indiana. The Penn St. win was powered by a second consecutive free kick goal from Jack Hallahan, who broke the scoreless tie for good at 62 minutes. Indiana is clearly the Big Ten’s best team, and Michigan held them scoreless for 110 minutes, an achievement by itself. Unfortunately, they didn’t win the shootout and had to settle for runners-up in the Big Ten Tournament.

Michigan played well enough in the Big Ten Tournament to propel them all the way to the #13 national seed, giving them a bye in the first round and a home game in the second. Michigan will Wright St. That first round matchup is on BTN+, but will be free to stream, a huge improvement over last week’s women’s soccer first round. A Michigan win would likely send them to play Wake Forest on the road in the third round, but hosting a third round game isn’t out of the question: Maryland plays Iona tonight, and the winner of that game will play Wake Forest. If Maryland were to upset Wake Forest, then the Terps would come to Ann Arbor for a Round 3 game.

Cross Country

Last Week: NCAA Great Lakes Regional: Men, 3rd of 29, Women 2nd of 31

Upcoming: NCAA Championship, Terre Haute, IN, Sat Nov. 23, Women 11:15a, Men 12:15p

The Wolverines spent last weekend in Madison, WI for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. On the women’s side, they came in second, trailing only Michigan State. Second was still good for an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships as a team. Ericka Vanderlende’s fourth place finish led the way for the Wolverines, while five Wolverines came in the top 25.

On the men’s side, they finished third, which was not good enough for an auto-bid but set them up well for an at-large bid to the NCAA Championships. Purdue and Notre Dame took the auto-bids. Ninth-place Isaac Harding paced the Wolverines, with four Michigan athletes coming in the top 20.

Michigan will travel to Terre Haute, IN for the National Championships. This is the third time the women will have raced at Indiana State this season.

#10 Field Hockey (13-7, 5-3 B1G)

Last Week: 2-1 L @ Louisville

Michigan’s field hockey season came to an end last week, as Michigan lost in double overtime to Louisville in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was a disappointing end to a season that started off hot but featured some key losses down the stretch. Meg Douthwaite opened the scoring in the first quarter, and Louisville would not hit the equalizer until the third. Overtime remained scoreless with just two minutes until the shootout, but Louisville found the goal and ended the contest. Michigan will head to it’s offseason, ready to regroup and challenge for the Big Ten title again next year.

#23 Volleyball (19-8, 12-5 B1G)

Last Week: 0-3 L @ #5 Minnesota, 3-2 W @ Michigan St.

Upcoming: Sat Nov. 23, 1p @ #17 Purdue, Wed Nov. 27, 6:30p v. Purdue

Volleyball is the last fall sport in its regular season. Michigan climbed back into the rankings last week and stayed there despite a hard loss at the hands of #5 Minnesota. Michigan kept each set relatively close, never scoring less than 20, but couldn’t get the streaks going to win one. Michigan had better luck in East Lansing, coming back from a 2-1 deficit to win the final two sets and sweep the season series against the Spartans.

While the Big Ten Championship is off the table (and already was without an incredible series of events), NCAA Tournament seeding is still very much a motivator for the Wolverines. While playing their way into a home game is unlikely, playing one of the less highly seeded hosts could help Michigan get back to the Sweet 16. Michigan has a huge week ahead, with a home-and-home with #17 Purdue. Splitting would very much help the Wolverines’ cause.

#20 Wrestling

Last Week: Black Knight Invitational, 4th of 8

Upcoming: Sun Nov. 24, 2p v. Central Michigan

Michigan visited West Point for the Black Knight Invitational, and came in fourth. Michigan won two individual championships, with Will Lewan winning the 157 pound title, and Mason Parris continuing his run of Heavyweight titles. Parris defeated CMU’s Matt Stencel.

Parris and Stencel will go at it again when Michigan hosts the Chips this Sunday. Central are ranked #4 in the country among mid-majors, and will provide Michigan a major test in their last dual meet of 2019.