USA Today - Rick Osentoski
John Beilein states his case for NCAA Tournament bid
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- After Michigan's 76-59 loss to Purdue on Saturday, it must now wait with bated breath to see whether the Wolverines have punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament in a few week. While some may see a team right on the bubble, U-M coach John Beilein made his case for his team to be included in the conversation. If the performance against Indiana means anything, Beilein thinks his Wolverines should be in. "As I always say, it's such a great committee there," Beilein said. "At the same time, the strength of our schedule is -- you know, talk about top-50 teams. We beat top-25 teams. We beat the champion of our league. If anybody here thought that was a home game for us yesterday, they're crazy. That was not a home game against Indiana. This was not a home game today." It also doesn't have that U-M had to battle adversity once again after losing both senior captains in Spike Albrecht and Caris LeVert to injuries. Beilein said that his team has fought tirelessly over the course of the season to be in the conversation. However, adversity and brownie points don't apply to seeding in the national tournament. Was the adversity they battled through to get to the third round of the Big Ten tournament enough to head to the Big Dance? "Our kids battled all year long," Beilein said. "And when we're playing like an SMU and we just go -- we just go to North Carolina State and we played great. And all of a sudden we lose Derrick Walton. There was all these adjustments all year long that I think the team that we saw in the last -- and really for much of this game, but the team that we saw in a lot of the games that we've won is the team. But we were always making adjustments. We're a good team right now. Now, that -- they got to compare that to the other bubble teams. And did they battle the same adversity? Did they do that all year long? Who knows?" Beilein mentioned his difficult schedule should also be mentioned when discussing the Wolverines' case. With playing top 50 and 100 teams tough, Beilein believes that his team can hang with the best in the nation. "If you look at our schedule, how many -- virtually all our top games, there was a huge number of top-25 teams that we played, a huge number of them," Beilein said. "And it's not top-50. It's top-25. Almost like all -- not all year long but might be a half our games might have been top-25 teams. So, no, we didn't win that. We're not a top-25 team. But we won enough to show that if we played the teams in the 50s through 100s more, if we played more of the teams at the back end of the 25 that were 40, 45, 50, whatever they are, we can beat those teams."
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