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Roundtable: Who Maize n Brew is rooting for without Michigan in the NCAA Tournament

One Big Ten team showed up a few times...

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Championship-Penn State vs Purdue Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Selection Sunday came and went and to the surprise of no one, the Michigan Wolverines will not be in the NCAA Tournament. While it has been an incredibly disappointing season for Juwan Howard and company, it feels like you have to root for somebody who actually made it into the tournament.

After the Wolverines' loss to Rutgers, I asked the group here at Maize n Brew who we should get behind. Here’s who we came up with and why:

Dan Plocher

“For me, it is Shaka Smart and Marquette. I live in Milwaukee and it is the talk of the town that the Golden Eagles are a No. 2 seed. They just came off their first Big East Tournament Championship since 2005, and their conference championship for the first time since 1997 when they were in Conference USA. Starting point guard Tyler Kolek is one of the best facilitators in college basketball, earning 7.7 assists per game this season, Kam Jones can shoot the lights out of the gym and Marquette has size and athleticism all around. Smart hopes to get the Golden Eagles their first tournament win since 2013.

“And if you are looking for a sleeper. I really like No. 13 Kent State and their matchup with No. 4 Indiana in the Midwest region. The Golden Flashes play super tough and aggressive defense which is why they allowed just 49 points in a five-point loss to Houston earlier this season. They also had Gonzaga on the ropes going into the final two minutes of a game earlier this season. Not to mention, they have a star guard in Sincere Carry who averaged 17.6 points per game. It feels like every Cinderella team has a senior guard like that on their roster. It should be really fun to see how this one plays out.”

Kellen Voss

“Penn State. They’ve made a run in the Big Ten Tournament and they’re clicking at the right time. Shrew is a great coach, Jalen Pickett and his booty ball is unorthodox and fun to watch, and they got guys like Seth Lundy and Andrew Funk who can win you a game with their three-point shooting. These types of teams make runs in March Madness, and it’s cool seeing teams that aren’t usually playing this time of year succeeding.

“If you’re looking for a top-4 seed that’s easy to root for, look no further than Xavier. The Musketeers have made it to the Elite Eight three times, with the most recent appearance happening in 2016-17. Coincidentally, head coach Sean Miller coached Xavier to the Elite 8 in 2008-09 before taking over at Arizona, but now he’s back. They got a solid backcourt in Souley Boum (great name) and Colby Jones, the latter of which prolly sneaks into the first round of the NBA Draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Musketeers shock some people, upset Houston and get to the Final Four, with Miller sweating through his shirt and tearing up in the handshake line.”

Von Lozon

“I’m gonna be rooting for ultimate chaos, but the one team I’ll be pulling for is Penn State. They were really fun to watch in the Big Ten Tournament before falling just short to Purdue. Coach Shrewsberry has this team rolling and I could definitely see them making a run this March.

“Oh, and I gotta root for USC as well. At least for one round.”

Andrew Bailey

“Chaos. It is a weird feeling not having any passionate interest in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2015, so I have decided to root for sheer chaos. I want favorites to fall early and often, and to witness a tournament so exciting and memorable that I forget about the frustrations of U-M basketball.”

David Woelkers

UCLA. If you look at them with your head crooked at just the right angle and squinting with just the right amount of effort, they kinda look like Michigan. And in these trying times, that’s good enough for me.”

Who do you find yourself rooting for with Michigan missing from the NCAA Tournament?