I will be honest, I wanted to write this after the Big Ten Tournament, perhaps even a few days before then. But after what has been the craziest opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament that I can ever remember, I am ready to scream it from the mountaintops.
The University of Michigan is going to win the National Title. In basketball. In 2018.
Yes, it is possible. Good things CAN happen to a team that plays in Ann Arbor.
So many elite teams played horrible basketball this weekend and as a result got sent home from the big dance. Michigan was ripe for an upset twice and played two of its worst games of the year consecutively, but walked out with a pair of wins nonetheless.
I can confidently sit here today and say the Wolverines will not play worse the rest of the way. Heck, they may lose, but they will not be as “meh” as they were this weekend.
Moritz Wagner, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Zavier Simpson were fairly quiet in both games and a betting man would assume that is not going to happen again. John Beilein’s Wolverines have long been a program where if they didn’t shoot well, they were in trouble. Now, they win with defense and it keeps them in every game they play. When they do shoot well, other teams are gonna have a bad time.
Xavier and North Carolina were, to me, two teams were scary as potential opponents in the West, but they will be watching Michigan play in Los Angeles from home. Texas A&M is formidable and has size, but that matchup is so much more favorable for the Wolverines.
There is one team remaining on the left side of the bracket that terrifies me, though, and it would be in a potential matchup in the Final Four.
Sister Jean and Loyola-Chicago are downright frightening. I am a proud Catholic and went to private school for the first ten years of my educational career. When you have the power of the Lord on your side in the avatar of one of the sassiest women of faith I’ve ever seen, you are a buzzsaw, stats and matchups be damned.
I mean look at this lady.
Sister Jean on becoming a national sensation: “Really, if I can correct you, international.” pic.twitter.com/JQP2Rj0P8S— Lauren Comitor (@laurencomitor) March 18, 2018
I’m shook. Maybe I should walk back my Michigan prediction.
No. No. I am a man of faith too, and I have faith that the Wolverines are on a Blues Brothers-type mission from God. And if have I have to go to L.A. myself to make it so, I will (my Venmo is open for travel expense purposes).
At the end of the day, given all that has happened in college basketball this year with the FBI investigation and scandals that are still playing out, this is going to be the year of the good guys. The ones who do it right. The ones who follow a process and develop their players over multiple years and get every single drop out of them.
This is the Year of the Wolverines.
And amazing that it comes on the five-year anniversary of their last national title.