ANN ARBOR -- In a stunning turn of events, Michigan was omitted from the NCAA tournament Sunday evening.
Despite a 10-22 overall record (5-13 in conference play), the selection committee felt the Wolverines' resume just wasn't quite strong enough. Michigan's RPI of 172 was slightly below that of teams normally invited teams, though their strength of schedule ranked a very respectable 26th.
"To be honest with you, I'm not sure what more we could have done," said Michigan coach John Beilein. "We played a strong non-conference schedule. In past years, that's what the Committee has looked toward."
This year, however, the Tournament Committee took a different angle.
"Well, you actually have to win those non-conference games," said Tom O'Connor, George Mason AD and Committee Chair. "I'm pretty sure even my son knows that, and he's four."
Michigan lost at #8 Georgetown, at #10 Butler, at #9 Duke, and home to #2 UCLA. They also fell at Boston College, at Harvard, at Western Kentucky, and home to Central Michigan. Of course, they soundly defeated both Brown and Oakland.
The snubbing was especially hard on the Michigan players, who assembled at Crisler Arena for a "televised" watch party.
"We had originally planned for ESPN to come," said Beilein, "but they felt Michigan State deserved it more. Assistant Coach Jerry Dunn brought his 8mm though, so we really didn't miss ESPN. Plus Kathleen [Beilein] made 7-layer dip, which was delightful."