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Michigan's Bid Outlook - Another Final Four?

Michigan gets a tough draw

We could be seeing this again soon.
We could be seeing this again soon.
Grant Halverson

Had Michigan pulled out the Big Ten Championship on Sunday we might be having a different conversation about the Wolverines seeding in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, ACC Champ Virginia was awarded the final number one seed and Michigan was given a first class ticket to the so-called "region of death" as the two seed in the Midwest. Assuming the Wolverines can get by Wofford in the 2-15 second round matchup, each game from then on figures to be a dogfight.

All eyes point to the potential Sweet 16 matchups in the Midwest if the top four seeds survive opening weekend. Tournament darling Wichita State could face off with defending champion Louisville. On the other side of the region basketball fans could be treated with a Michigan Duke rematch as the Wolverines look to avenge a 14-point defeat at Cameron Indoor in December. Outside of the road loss at Iowa, Michigan played perhaps their worst game of the season at Duke, but this team has grown up a lot since then. A win over Duke could give the Wolverines a rematch of last year's national title game with Louisville with a chance to go to Dallas.

What's going to be interesting to see as the Wolverines look to get back to the Final Four is if they can survive a game in which they don't shoot particularly well. This team is so elite offensively that even in a six game stretch against quality opponents, Michigan is unlikely to shoot the ball poorly as a team for more than one or two games. Because of how multi-dimensional John Beilein's offense is and the fact that they have seven players that can score double digits any night out, it's hard to keep this team down for long.

I'm looking to the possible Duke matchup as one that can either catapult Michigan into a title run or cast a cloud over the Wolverines as Duke would continue their dominant stretch over the maize and blue. A win would keep alive the hopes of another banner being raised in the Crisler Center. Make no mistake this is a incredibly difficult draw for the Big Ten Regular Season Champs. But with second weekend matchups against Duke and Louisville, Michigan draws two opponents they have played in the last calendar year and that familiarity could prove beneficial to big blue.