NCAA Tournament Preview: #11 Michigan Vs. #6 Notre Dame

The eleventh seeded Wolverines (23-12) take on the sixth seeded Fighting Irish (21-11) in the First round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday. The game will tip-off in the Barclays Center of Brooklyn, NY at 9:40 PM EST, and will be televised on CBS. From Ann Arbor, to Indianapolis, to Dayton, and now to Brooklyn, this Wolverines team is going to have to battle lethargy to keep the season alive. “Yeah man. we’re getting around,” said junior forward Zak Irvin on the ending on the path that has lead him to the tournament. It is going to be a long day for U-M who practices at noon, but as Sophomore forward Duncan Robinson said, “there is no time for fatigue.”

Notre Dame Player to Watch:

Senior captain Zach Auguste is going to be a handful for Michigan on the interior. The 6-10, 240 pound rebounding machine has has 19 double-doubles this season and averages 10.8 rebounds and 14.4 points per game. He is a big, physical body that is going to battle in the paint. U-M’s big men will have their work cut out for  them Friday night.

Michigan Player to Watch:

Although sophomore Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman only averages 8.5 points per game, he has become a key component to the Wolverine’s offense. With the exception of Wisconsin, he has scored double digits in 7 0f the last 8. The 6-4 guard will be a difference maker down the stretch as he averages 28 minutes per game, and rarely turns the ball over.

Breakdown:

Michigan has won a crucial four out of their last five games, but we haven’t seen their bast basketball yet. They will need to take advantage of Notre Dame’s 172nd ranked defense by utilizing the pick and roll and eliminating turnovers. If U-M can contain Zach Auguste and shoot well from beyond the arc, this game could end up in the Wolverines favor.