NCAA Bound: Wolverines to Face Clemson on Thursday
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John Beilein's Selection Show Sunday Timeline

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan men's basketball team won an invitation to the 2009 NCAA Tournament today (Sunday, March 15), marking the first time in 11 seasons the Wolverines will play among the field of 65.

The Wolverines, who earn their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1998, will be the No. 10 seed in the South Regional and will face No. 7 seed Clemson on Thursday (March 19) at 6:10 p.m. CDT at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. A Michigan win would place U-M in a Saturday (March 21) matchup with the winner of No. 2 seed Oklahoma and No. 15 seed Morgan State.

In addition to the South Regional pod, also playing in Kansas City, Mo., will be four teams from the West Regional. No.7California faces No. 10 Maryland and No.2 Memphis takes on No. 15 Cal State Northridge on Friday (March 20).

With the Maize and Blue's selection, U-M head coach John Beilein becomes the seventh coach in NCAA history to bring four different teams to the NCAA Tournament -- Canisius (1996), Richmond (1998), West Virginia (2005 & 2006) and now Michigan in 2009.

The Wolverines will make the program's 21st all-time appearance in the event. The Maize and Blue, which celebrated the 20th anniversary of its 1989 national title earlier this season, have a 41-19 all-time record in the "Big Dance".

Beilein's Wolverines closed the regular season with a 20-13 record, doubling their win total from a season ago. The Wolverines closed the Big Ten season with a 9-9 record and advanced to the quarterfinal of the Big Ten Tournament.

U-M earned wins over ranked opponents three times during the campaign, including the No. 4 ranked team twice (No. 4 UCLA, 55-52, Nov. 20; No. 4 Duke, 81-73, Dec. 6; Purdue, 87-78, Feb. 26).


Michigan Head Coach John Beilein

On Clemson... "We played them in the NIT Championship (in 2007 while at West Virginia). I've been following them a little bit this year; I don't know how much their personnel has changed (since 2007). I do know that they have been a high-pressure, full-court press team in the past. I haven't seen one of their games this year, but Matt (Duprey, U-M video coordinator) has five or six tapes already and I will have two loaded into my computer by eight o'clock. I will enjoy this a little bit and I will be up pretty early watching tape."

On the stress of waiting for a bid... "I told my wife that when I am coaching the game I don't know if there is a heartbeat at all, I am just coaching. But when I am watching the Buffalo Bills in the last second or the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series my heart goes like this (patting chest). That's what it was doing today. You don't have any control."

On the viewing party... "I made that decision yesterday. I had first said -- just looking at the thing I didn't want to make the decision. The next morning I woke up and saw the band members in the lobby studying, and then I saw a couple cheerleaders going out in the morning, so I said to myself that all of these people have sacrificed so much that we have to make this an inclusive thing. If we are in we can enjoy it all together and if we are out it makes us stronger to come back and be ready to do it next year."

On what he said to the team before the selection show... "Before we went out there I prepared them for both scenarios. Because whenever we have gone to the NIT it has been a great experience for our team. I didn't want to be one of those teams that didn't get in and then lays an egg right away in the NIT. Had I known that we were going to get in I probably would not have brought that up, but I wanted to make sure we were ready for both scenarios."

On thinking about making the NCAAs in the preseason... "I don't think that it was a thought. We were hoping for probably more of an NIT bid. When you go 10-22 you're not expecting this, and looking at the schedule I was hoping we were going to beat Michigan Tech, so that we weren't playing IUPUI in the consolation game of that first tournament. That is the way coaches think. You don't know how your team will respond. I was really pleased that we got off to that good start. I told everyone it would be a rollercoaster. I am not trying to say I'm wiser than anyone else, but experience tells you it will go up and down."

On dealing with outside expectations... "I think you have the same approach as if you are on a hot streak. It is about winning today. Winning today's practice, winning today in the training room, winning today in the classroom. I think it allows them to stay focused on short term goals instead of doing all that. With all the access to different media there is a lot of stuff that can be distracting and we try to educate them about that. There are times when I get on the computer and I look at Bracketology or College RPI out of curiosity, but then you shut the computer off and say I can't make a difference about this, but if I watch this film then I can make a difference."

On playing top-level teams... "We play in the Big Ten and have played some terrific teams this year. We are fortunate enough to have a win over the ACC Tournament champion (Duke) and the Big Ten Tournament champion (Purdue). That means we have played against some very good teams, but we played extremely well in those games and we will have to do that again."

Contact: Tom Wywrot (734) 763-4423

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