For Zak Irvin, to begin his last NCAA Tournament in Indianapolis is a bit of a homecoming for the senior.
Growing up in Fishers, Irvin is able to come back to his home state to prepare for his final games as a player. On Friday, he is able to say that he can live to see another day as Michigan defeated Oklahoma State 92-91.
With the winner of Louisville and Jacksonville State looming, Irvin was able to appreciate the opportunity to come home.
"It's always nice being able to come back home, playing in front of your family and friends," Irvin said. "Most importantly, I'm worried about us winning. We were able do that this afternoon. We've got to continue to play well."
The victory over the Cowboys was aided by an impressive three-point display in the second half. With the team struggling in the first half, Irvin echoed his head coaches sentiments.
Once the team settled down, things became a lot easier.
"It's ability to settle down and get into a flow and rhythm," Irvin said. "We settled too much on offense. Once we relaxed and were able to play our game, I think it helped us out."
This season hasn't been the easiest for Irvin, far from it at times. Despite all of the struggles Irvin has faced this year, John Beilein stuck with his senior. The journey he has taken has impressed Beilein greatly.
"We can write a book on this one," Beilein said. "This whole time, he's unflappable. Periods in the sophomore year, he lost his backcourt. The sophomore's supposed to fill in the blanks. Now the sophomore is one of our most experienced players. We learned so much through that. He learned so much from that. What has happened, what I've seen, he had a year right now where when we weren't playing well, right, he was not confident in what he was doing. He was unflappable through it all. All of a sudden now, if you check his stats, he's shooting about 50 percent overall and from 3 during these last five games when it really counted. I had several questions about this. When do you turn to somebody else? I said I'm not turning to anybody else.
"We've got a team. Zak Irvin is in there and will take shots because he makes shots. We have a lot of confidence in him. I wouldn't do that if he hadn't shown extreme selfless leadership during the entire four years here."