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Taking a look at Michigan’s chances in the Midwest Region

The Wolverines could have an interesting journey ahead of them.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Final-Michigan vs Wisconsin Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan Basketball, fresh off of its Big Ten championship, was named as a seventh-seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament and will kick things off in Indianapolis on Friday.

Their opening round matchup pits them against Oklahoma State, a team that went 20-12 this season and has one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

We’ll get more into the potential track meet as the week goes on. For now, let’s look at the rest of the region.

Kansas comes in as the top seed in the country and gets the winner of the play-in 16-seed game between NC Central and UC Davis. One would assume they are going to be playing on Sunday against the Winner of the Miami (FL) vs. Michigan State matchup.

Michigan State as a No. 9 seed is a bit of a head scratcher. The bubble was weak this year, so it did not seem likely that they would miss. Whether or not that was “brand bias” there or they benefitted from Mark Hollis on the Selection Committee is something to be debated in the comments section alone.

Still, they do not have an easy opening matchup going against KenPom’s No. 32-ranked team.

Kansas looks like the favorite to come out of the top half of the Midwest Region, but that’s why they play the games. Iowa State and Purdue are the biggest threats and if things hold, they will decide which of them that will be on Saturday if they advance.

Now, for the bottom half.

Creighton-Rhode Island has the makings of a popular upset pick in your bracket pools. Despite the fact that Oregon has lost Chris Boucher for the rest of the year, that’s a team that should still be able to find a way to make the Sweet Sixteen.

Louisville should find themselves playing on Sunday, but the question is who it will be. That’s where the Wolverines come in.

Should Michigan continue to play the way they have, and with a chance at revenge over 2013’s National Title game potentially on the line if they beat Okie State, which is by no means a sure thing. The Wolverines’ shot of playing into the tournament’s second weekend is extremely solid.

Louisville has the size to be a problem for Michigan. Neither of their potential games this weekend will be cakewalks, but hey, welcome to March.

Should Kansas become one of the No. 1 seeds to fall earlier than expected in this tournament, that opens everything up for the Wolverines to potentially make a run. The way that Derrick Walton is playing and the team has elevated around him gives them a chance in any game they play, even if they did get to an Elite Eight showdown with the Jayhawks.

It’s not hard to envision an Elite Eight appearance as the ceiling and it would seem that a run that far and beyond would take some more March magic. However, this team has that “it” factor right now and a lot of people are going to be picking them to go deep.