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3/18 Big Ten NIT Preview: Michigan travels to Vanderbilt

The Wolverines are heading to Nashville to take on the Commodores.

Syndication: Detroit Free Press Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

A 90-80 win over Toledo sent Michigan to the second round of the NIT where the Wolverines will face off with the Vanderbilt Commodores.

Here’s everything you need to know about the game:

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores

  • Time/TV: Noon ET (ESPN)
  • KenPom: Vanderbilt by 1

Michigan may have gotten past Toledo in the first round of NIT, but the same issues that kept the Wolverines out of the NCAA Tournament field kept surfacing. The Rockets refused to give up until the bitter end and, despite all their talent, Michigan struggled throughout.

That being said, the Wolverines were without Jett Howard and it remains to be seen if he’ll be available when they take on the Commodores.

Vanderbilt is No. 80 overall in KenPom, but most of that ranking is one-sided. The Commodores have one of the most efficient offenses in the country, ranking. No. 22 with a rating of 115.2.

The downside? Their defensive efficiency is lacking at a rating of 104.2, good for 152nd. Not as good. That could make things interesting for Michigan, a more balanced squad overall between offense and defense.

The Commodores ended the season on a hot streak too, racking up a few key wins with a mini-run in the SEC Tournament before falling to Texas A&M.

I think Vanderbilt is just playing better basketball than Michigan has as of late. The Wolverines are a better squad on paper, but I think the Commodores are just going to want this one more.

  • Pick: Vanderbilt