Michigan opens NCAA play against Bradley
Ann Arbor — Having won the Big Ten tournament on Sunday and the conference's automatic NCAA tourney bid, some of the suspense was taken out of Michigan's Monday.
The Wolverines watched the NCAA selection show in the clubhouse at the Wilpon Complex on Monday afternoon with less anxiety, but still wanting to know where they would be playing and who their opponent would be.
UM (37-23) had nearly the longest wait, as its regional pairing was announced second-to-last. The Wolverines got a No. 3 seed and will face second-seeded Bradley (35-19) on Friday at 2 p.m.; the game will be shown on ESPN3.
The double-elimination regional bracket also features top-seeded Louisville (43-16), the regional host, and No. 4 seed Morehead State (38-20).
"It was a little upsetting that we got the last regional because we already knew where we were going," junior Jacob Cronenworth said. "It would have been cool if it were surprising. But it's awesome; we worked all year for this, and to finally get where we want to be is awesome."
As they watched some of the other pairings being announced, the Wolverines oohed and aahed at some of the matchups and seemed to want to be placed in Florida or California for the balmy weather and scenery, but they'll gladly take the location and matchup they got.
Playing Bradley, the second seed, will be a challenge. The Braves lost to Missouri State in the Missouri Valley Conference championship game and their final RPI was an impressive No. 19.
"We actually don't know anything about Bradley," said Cronenworth, who was the most valuable player of the Big Ten tournament. "But they're obviously a good team because they're a 2 seed."
Bradley last made the NCAA tournament in 1968 and advanced to the College World Series in 1950 and 1956.
The winner of the Louisville regional will meet the winner of the Fullerton, Calif., regional in the Super Regionals June 5-8. Teams in the Fullerton regional are No. 1 Cal-Fullerton, No. 2 Arizona State, No. 3 Clemson and No. 4 Pepperdine.
Michigan State was considered a bubble team and did not make the 64-team NCAA field.
When: Friday through Monday.
Where: Jim Patterson Stadium, Louisville, Ky.
Teams: No. 1 Louisville (43-16), No. 2 Bradley (35-19), No. 3 Michigan (37-23), No. 4 Morehead State (38-20).
At stake: Spot in best-of-three Super Regional against winner of Fullerton, Calif., regional.
Tickets: Order online HERE or call 502-GO-CARDS.
All games on ESPN3
Game 1: Michigan vs. Bradley, 2 p.m.
Game 2: Louisville vs. Morehead State, 6 p.m.
Game 3: Game 1 loser vs. Game 2 loser, noon
Game 4: Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 winner, 4 p.m.
Game 5: Game 3 winner vs. Game 4 loser, noon
Game 6: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, 4 p.m.
Game 7: Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner, if necessary, 6 p.m.