Michigan Basketball will prove the Big Ten Conference isn’t weak

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) /

Day one of the NCAA tournament was very unkind to the Big Ten Conference, really defining its nickname March Madness.  Michigan Basketball needs to make sure they are laser-focused today to ensure they do not suffer a let-down.

Michigan Basketball entered the NCAA tournament as a one seed, despite sputtering down the stretch before the start of the competition.  The Wolverines lost 70-64, the second of a back-to-back to Michigan State, which helped reward the Spartans with a First-Four appearance earlier this week, which they lost to UCLA.

The Big Ten tournament wasn’t very kind to the Wolverines, either losing to another rival in Ohio State 68-67.  The Wolverines had a chance, but the buzzer-beater wouldn’t fall.

Things haven’t gone very well for the Big Ten Conference thus far.  The two teams who recently beat the Wolverines late in the season are already eliminated from contention.  The Spartans basically held the door for Ohio State as the number two seeded Buckeyes were upset by Oral Roberts in the first round of the competition.

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In addition to those two schools, Purdue found themselves on the wrong side of an upset as well, losing to North Texas.  The victory is North Texas’ first tournament victory of all-time.  That leaves Illinois, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Maryland, and Michigan from the Big Ten left in the madness.  The first three have already won their first game, and Michigan will look to do the same.

Michigan Basketball needs to be on its toes right from the get-go Saturday against Texas Southern.

This will be our first look at head coach Juwan Howard as a tournament coach.  Recently, Howard was rewarded with the Henry Iba National Coach of the Year Award by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association but we’ve yet to see him coach in an NCAA Tournament.

I suspect Howard will be fine coaching under the brightest lights in college basketball but he’s yet to prove it.

Texas Southern won their play-in game over Mount St. Mary’s 60-52 thanks to an 11-0 run to start the second half, followed by an 8-0 run a few minutes later after conceding a run of their own.

Forward John Walker scored 19 points along with reeling in nine boards for Texas Southern in the victory.  Michigan Basketball’s sensational freshman center Hunter Dickinson will have his work cut out from him on the boards fending off Walker.

Michigan Basketball fans are certainly snickering at OSU and MSU’s expense, but things won’t be so funny if Texas Southern pulls off the upset; ask Virginia fans.  Virginia entered the madness as a one seed and pegged by many to win the tournament but lost to UMBC, a No. 16 seed in the first round.

The Wolverines need to take care of the basketball, crash the boards and stay out of foul trouble.  Michigan will be without one of their top players all tournament. Forward Isaiah Livers will be sidelined with a foot injury leaving depth players such as Chaundee Brown and Brandon Johns to step-up in his absence.

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The opening tip is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET. and can be found on CBS.