6 - Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Michigan earns first NCAA
Tournament bid since 2001
By COLLEEN THOMAS
Daily Sports Writer
Finally, the Michigan women's'
basketball team is going dancing.
In the past 11 years, the Wol-
verines have had three coaches
and multiple disappointing sea-.
sons, but more importantly, no
NCAA Tournament appearances.
But on Monday, that all
changed, as Michigan earned an
at-large berth after going 20-11
The Wolverines are the11-seed
inthe Fresno region and will play
six-seed Oklahoma in Norman, -
Okla. in the first round. The game
tips at 7:30 on Sunday night.
Michigan hasn't made an
appearance in the NCAA Tour-
nament since 2001 under coach
Sue Guevara, and the team has
made the tournament just four
other times in program history.
As part of Michigan coach'
Kevin Borseth's first recruiting
class, senior guards Courtney
Boylan and Carmen Reynolds
have experienced all the growing
pains associated with rebuilding
Just last season, the Wolver- AUSTEN HUFFORD/Daily
st finsethirn the Bg Ter Senior guard Courney Boylan and the Wolverines are headed tothe Big Dance.
ines finished third in the Big Ten
before losing to the worst team But Boylan was confident in the try to get into the tournament
in the league, Illinois, in the first body of work the team put in this and make some things happen.
round of the conference tourna- season, and believed the 20-win "Every day in practice, these
ment. They weren't invited to the mark would help their case. kids lace up and play just as hard
NCAA Tournament, despite a Borseth was also confident in as anybody I've ever had play for
strong resume. his team, but was wary to get too me. I'm really proud of them, and
This year, Boylan and Reyn- excited or disappointed before (happy) for them to get an oppor-
olds got the opportunity to leave Monday - he understands the tunity to finally - I don't want
their mark. pressure the selection committee to say get rewarded, but get an
"It means a lot to us (to make faces each year. opportunity to play in the NCAA
the tournament)," Reynolds said. "The committee has tough Tournament."
"The room exploded, I mean, we decisions to make, and the last Borseth took over the program
started crying. It's just so excit- couple of years we weren't on the in 2007, turning around a pro-
ing to us. To take that step in positive end of that choice, and gram that dwelled at the bottom
the program our senior year, it this year we were," he said. "For of the Big Ten for the previous
means so much." whatever reason, I don't know, four years and making it a com-
Boylan added: "Our program but I'm glad we were." petitor in the conference. After
has changed so much since Bors- When Michigan's name just his fifth season, his team is
eth came here. We were a part of appeared on the screen shortly going dancing.
his first recruiting class, and to after 7 p.m. on Monday, Borseth NOTE: The NCAA Tourna-
l2 able toleave our footprTr on t halnathing 70F7psitives to sarii2Wt field features seven BigR
the program means so much to about his team's season, reas- Ten teams, a conference record.
us." sured by the committee's deci- They include: four-seed Purdue,
. The Wolverines rode the bub- sion. four-seed Penn State, six-seed
ble for the majority of the season, "It's a great feeling, obviously," Nebraska, eight-seed Ohio State,
and many experts didn't think he said. "You go through all those nine-seed Iowa, 10-seed Michi-
they would make it this year. trials together and your goal isto gan State and 11-seed Michigan.
Burke set for first Big Dance
There isn't much that fresh-
man point guard Trey Burke
hasn't done in his inaugural
season for the
Michigan bas- NOTEBOOK
Burke's looked like a veteran
floor general in his short time
in Ann Arbor. He leads the team
in scoring with 14.8 points per
game, he's taken over games
when the Wolverines needed
him to, and he's been named
Big Ten Player of the Week and
Freshman of the Week multiple
times en route to sharing the
conference's Freshman of the
Year award with Indiana's Cody
But for all Burke's already
accomplished in his young
career, the Columbus native is
obviously still in his first year
and hasn't played in the NCAA
Tournament yet. That will
change on Friday against Ohio,
and Burke - who took an unof-
ficial visit to Ohio as a recruit -
couldn't be more excited.
"Growing up, that's every-
one's dream, especially if you're
playing in college," Burke said.
"Growing up, I always watched
March Madness and watched
Selection Sunday and things
like that. Just to be able to have
the opportunity to participate
in it and to actually play in it is
just a blessing."
The good thing for Burke, and
Michigan by extension, is the
point guard won't have to adjust
to playing multiple games in
multiple days. He picked up that
experience back in November
when the Wolverines played on
three straight days in the Maui
Invitational, and added to it last
weekend in the Big Ten Tourna-
If anything, despite the added
pressure in the Big Dance, it
will be more of a breather than
There's a day between games
and a week in between the ini-
tial rounds, the Sweet 16 and the
That rest could be huge for
Burke. He adamantly denied
being tired in Michigan's ugly
loss on Saturday to Ohio State
in the Big Ten Tournament
semifinals, even though he had
his worst performance of the
season a night after playing all
45 minutes of the overtime win
Some may still worry about
the proverbial freshman wall,
but Michigan coach John
Beilein has countered questions
about his limited rotation in the
past by pointing to how many
teams besides his own ride their
The Wolverines were an
eight-seed last season, a dis-
tinction that comes with low
expectations considering the
matchup looming with a one-
seed in the next round. Michi-
gan was seeded even lower
three years ago, when it made
the field as a 10-seed.
Indeed, the chalk held true
after Beilein's two teams won
their initial games, falling to
Duke and Oklahoma, respec-
's hard. But it's a different situation
Burke has led the team in this season - with the Wol-
es without breaking down verines seeded third, the base-
son, which must give the line expectation is to make the
rines hope that he won't Sweet 16 since they'll be favored
the NCAA Tournament in their first two matchups.
11 instead rise to the occa- That could mean added
pressure for a group of play-
ers that have never advanced
that far in their careers. But
the team wasn't worried about
1St tobe able the change from giant-killer to
actually "We had a target on our back
.'V .1 -S. all year I think," said redshirt
Sl i isjust sophomore forward Jordan
be g Morgan.
ss ng"We've been ranked. We've
been kind of at the top of the
conference all year, so we've
been in that situation. We were
his part, Burke said he's in that situation (Friday against
ppy that the referees let Minnesota), so I think we're
ams play in the Big Ten ready for anything."
ament and hopes that CUE THE JOKES: The first
over to the NCAA Tour- thought on everyone's mind on
t. The freshman, too, Selection Sunday when Ohio
re worried about mak- was announced as Michigan's
'e his team bounces back first opponent was what the
its blowout loss to the team would be calling its adver-
e whole team's hun- Thanks to Michigan football
get back on the court," coach Brady Hoke, Beilein has
said. "We felt like we got taken to referring to rival Ohio
d (Saturday), and we did. State as, simply, "Ohio."
said, after each loss this But now the Wolverines actu-
we bounced back three ally do have to play Ohio - how
harder. We have a new could this dilemma ever be
:t, and I have no doubt in resolved?
nd that it'll be the same Quite easily, it appears.
9up." Senior guard Zack Novak said
ITER TO HUNTED: Mich- they're playing "Ohio Univer-
nters the NCAA Tourna- sity" or the "Bobcats." Beilein,
his season in a different with a hint of a grin on his face,
n than it did last year added:
than it did in 2009, the "We're playing Ohio Univer-
wo times the team has sity now. It's a great university
he Big Dance in Beilein's down in Athens, Ohio."
RELEASE DATE- Tuesday, March 13, 2012
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