ncaa mens basketball

Tom Izzo talking to a referee
MGoBlog on Flickr / Flickr

Michigan State won against Michigan for the first time at Crisler Center since 2010. And with about three weeks until the NCAA unveils its tournament field of 68 for March Madness, the game had even more riding on it.

Adam Glanzman / Flickr

When Mitch McGary played high school basketball in New Hampshire, he was one of the nation’s top recruits. Michigan fans were rightly thrilled when he decided to play for the Wolverines.   

In his first NCAA tournament, last spring, McGary played so well folks thought he might jump to the NBA. Instead, he returned for his sophomore year – then injured his back so badly, he needed surgery mid-season. The Wolverines weren’t doing much better at 6-4, with Big Ten conference play still ahead. It looked like Michigan might miss the NCAA tournament. 

MSU loses to UConn, E. Lansing stays calm

Mar 30, 2014
USA TST / MSU Athletics

Shabazz Napier scored 17 of his 25 points in the second half, and Connecticut beat Michigan State 60-54 to return to the Final Four a year after the Huskies were barred from the N.C.A.A. tournament.

UNDATED (AP) - The NCAA men's regional finals are set following Friday night's action. Second seed Michigan will take on No. 8 Kentucky in the Midwest final at Indianapolis, and fourth seed Michigan St. will battle No. 7 Connecticut in the East at New York's Madison Square Garden.

Mgoblue / University of Michigan

It's on to the Sweet Sixteen for the Michigan Wolverines and the Michigan State Spartans in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Michigan held off Texas 79 to 65.

Michigan Coach John Beilein says the win again shows the similarities this year's Wolverines squad has to last year's team, which finished second in the NCAA.

Steve Johnson / Flickr

The Madness of March has officially commenced, bringing along its usual mix of bracket trash talk, early upsets, and billion-dollar promises.

And, of course, mascots.

For Michigan fans, March Madness has brought out our usual suspects: the Wolverines, the Spartans, and, for a fleeting moment, the Broncos.

And while many (including the president) think that the Great Lakes State has some winning teams, on a mascot level, we sure don’t compete.

The St. Louis Billikens? The Tulsa Golden Hurricane? And what in the name of all things sports is a Bearcat?

So here it is, in all its glory — a glimpse of some of the mascot heroes of this year’s  March Madness.

How a vaguely scary good-luck charm became a fifth-seeded mascot

U.S. Navy

On Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines faced the Michigan State Spartans in the final of the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament.

After a decade of domination by the Spartans, John Beilein’s Wolverines held the upper hand the past few years. They surprised just about everyone when they won the regular season Big Ten title this year by three games. Now they had the rare chance to beat the Spartans three times in one season. 

Well, they say beating your archrival three times is almost impossible, and that proved true.

Big Ten tournament champion Michigan State University, runner-up University of Michigan and Mid-American conference champion Western Michigan University all play their first tournament games today. 

screen shot / ESPN.com

President Obama, known as the first basketball fan in the White House, filled out his brackets for the NCAA men's basketball tournament yesterday.

He picked Michigan State to win it all.

"It's been awhile since Izzo won one," he said.

From ESPN.com:

Dave Trumpie / Capitol Gains

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Local, county and state law enforcement officials say they're stepping up patrols to catch drunken drivers during a period that includes St. Patrick's Day, the NCAA men's and women's basketball tournaments and spring break.

The Michigan State Police said this week that officers from 144 agencies in 26 counties are part of the crackdown that runs through April 7. The effort is coordinated by the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning and receives federal traffic safety funds.

NCAA

Once Tom Izzo got Michigan State’s basketball team rolling in the late ‘90s, the Spartans dominated the state for more than a decade.

Izzo’s teams have earned 16 straight NCAA invitations, seven Big Ten titles, five Final Fours, and one national title, in 2000. Along the way, Izzo took 18 of 21 against the Wolverines, who have had four different head coaches during his tenure.

But what a difference a few years make. Michigan basketball coach John Beilein has beaten the Spartans six of their last eight meetings, and returned the long-dormant program to its previous heights.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The Michigan Wolverines are losing a key player on their men’s basketball team.

Sophomore guard Trey Burke led the team to the NCAA championship this month.   Along the way, Burke picked up multiple awards, including the Associated Press college player of the year.    So it’s not really a surprise that he will forego his final years of college eligibility to possibly a big pay day in the NBA. 

Burke considered going pro a year ago, but decided to come back for his sophomore season. He led Michigan to the NCAA title game, where the Wolverines lost to Louisville.

NCAA

It wasn’t that long ago that Michigan’s basketball program was not merely unsuccessful, but the shame of the athletic department.

Bo Schembechler fired basketball coach Bill Frieder on the eve of the 1989 NCAA tournament, famously barking, “A Michigan Man will coach Michigan.”

Assistant Coach Steve Fisher filled in, and the team “shocked the world” by winning Michigan’s first-ever national title in basketball.

But on the eve of Fisher’s ninth season, he too was fired in disgrace, because some players had been paid by a booster.

Denise IlitchFacebook page

An impressive run through the NCAA tournament came up short for the Michigan Wolverines last night in Atlanta. 

After running up a double digit lead in the first half, the Wolverines succumbed to Louisville’s pressure defense.   The Cardinals kept up their hot shooting on offense and did just enough to put away Michigan down the stretch.

The final score: Louisville 82-Michigan 76. 

The Wolverines did have some standout performances.

AP player of the year Guard Trey Burke had 24 points for Michigan (31-8).  Little-used freshman Spike Albrecht added 17 points.

Michigan Basketball / Facebook

Wolverines across the country will be watching the NCAA championship game tonight, but what's happening with the team when their off-screen?

There's no doubt that this team has some extraordinary players. What are they doing that works so well?

Is it the combination of a veteran coach and a young team?

Michigan Radio's Sports Commentator John U. Bacon gave us insight into what has made this team bring the University of Michigan to the championship for the first time since 1989. 

Well, whatever it is, they've got fans buying new gear. Wolverines are sporting apparel with new slogans like, "We on," and "Rise to the occasion." 

They aren't the only ones happy about the championship. Sports apparel shops in Ann Arbor are experiencing a very healthy surge in sales. 

Todd Goetz is the manager of the Ulrich's Bookstore in Ann Arbor, which also sells Wolverine merchandise.

To listen to the audio, click the link above. 

Michigan Basketball / Facebook

The Michigan Wolverines will play tonight for what would be the Ann Arbor school’s first NCAA men’s basketball title since 1989.

It’s been 20 years since the Wolverines last played in a national championship game.  They lost that game to North Carolina. The year before the team lost to Duke.

In the two decades since, U of M has made quick exits from the March Madness tournament.

The Louisville Cardinals have been more successful lately in the tournament, but their last national title was in 1986.

Tip off for tonight’s game will be after 9.

Denise Ilitch/Facebook page

Michigan is headed to Monday’s NCAA men’s basketball national championship.

The Michigan Wolverines survived a late surge by the Syracuse Orange to win Saturday night’s national semi-final .   The final score was 61 to 56. 

The Michigan Wolverines are just one game away from playing for the NCAA men’s basketball national championship. But first, they must play the Syracuse Orange in tonight’s national semi-final in Atlanta.

The Wolverines will have to solve the mystery of Syracuse's zone defense, which has perplexed all their opponents so far in the March Madness tournament.

“You can’t simulate it in practice,” U of M coach John Beilein told reporters earlier this week, “It’s a thing we have to work at and we’ll be as ready as we can be.”

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing will be at Saturday night’s Michigan-Syracuse basketball game in Atlanta.

He will be rooting against the Wolverines.

Dave Bing is a Syracuse graduate.  In fact he played on the same basketball team as current Orange coach Jim Boeheim.

“At the beginning of March Madness, I thought Louisville was the best team. But both Michigan and Syracuse have played much better than I anticipated. They deserve to be there,” Mayor Bing said in a written statement,  “If Syracuse wins, it’s not going to be an easy win for them.”

H. W. Sands Corp

The University of Michigan’s allotment of tickets to this weekend’s Final Four basketball games is going quickly.

The last of the more than three thousand tickets might be scooped up by season ticket holders and students by the end of today.

Wolverine fans are not only scrambling for tickets.  They are also looking for places to stay in Atlanta for Saturday’s semi-final game against Syracuse and hopefully Monday’s national championship game.

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