First Touch #11: U-M to Play for Big Ten Tournament Title Sunday
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MGOBLUE

Nov. 12, 2010

Michigan at Big Ten Tournament
Big Ten Tournament Bracket

Jeffrey Field • State College, Pa.
Thursday, Nov. 11: No. 3 seed U-M vs. No. 6 seed Michigan State (First Round), Noon (note time change)
Live Stats | Live Blog

Friday, Nov. 12: No. 3 seed U-M vs. No. 7 seed Wisconsin (Semifinals), 1 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network (live) | Live Stats | Live Blog

Sunday, Nov. 14: No. 3 seed U-M vs. No. 4 seed Penn State (Finals), Noon
TV: Big Ten Network (live) | Live Stats | Live Blog
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TAKING TO THE PITCH
The University of Michigan men's soccer team (11-4-3, 4-2-0 Big Ten) will seek its first Big Ten Tournament championship on Thursday (Nov. 11) when it battles Michigan State in opening-round action at noon (note new time) at Jeffrey Field in State College, Pa. The game was originally scheduled for 10 a.m., but first-round times were pushed back two hours each due to travel problems for Wisconsin.

With a win, the Wolverines, who are the No. 3 seed for this week's tournament, will take on the winner of No. 2 seed Ohio State and No. 7 seed Wisconsin on Friday (Nov. 12) at 1 p.m. live on the Big Ten Network, which will carry both semifinal games as well as the championship game live. Dean Linke and Chris Doran will provide the call for the Big Ten Network. The winner of Sunday's championship will earn the Big Ten's automatic berth into the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

2010 BIG TEN TOURNAMENT SCHEDULE

Thursday-Sunday, Nov. 11-14
Jeffrey Field (State College, Pa.)

Thursday, Nov. 11 - First Round (Revised Times)
Game 1 -- #3 Seed Michigan vs. #6 Seed Michigan State (Noon)
Game 2 -- #2 Seed Ohio State vs. #7 Seed Wisconsin (2:30 p.m.)
Game 3 -- #4 Seed Penn State vs. #5 Seed Northwestern (5 p.m.)

Friday, Nov. 13 - Semifinals
Game 4 -- #1 Seed Indiana vs. Game 3 Winner (3:30 p.m.) -- Live on Big Ten Network
Game 5 -- Game 1 winner vs. Game 2 Winner (1 p.m.) -- Live in Big Ten Network

Sunday, Nov. 15 - Championship Game
Game 6 -- Game 4 winner vs. Game 5 winner (Noon) -- Live on Big Ten Network

WOLVERINE TIDBITS

Wolverines at the Big Ten Tournament -- Michigan earned the No. 3 seed for this week's Big Ten Tournament for the first time since becoming a varsity program in 2000. The last time Michigan earned a top-three seed for the Big Ten Tournament was during the 2008 season when U-M earned the No. 2 seed; that team reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

This will be the second time Michigan will face Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. The teams last met in 2005, with the Spartans taking a 1-0 win, and also met in 2002 when the Wolverines picked up a 1-0 victory. Michigan reached the finals of the conference tournament in 2002 and dropped a 2-1 decision to Penn State.

U-M Does Well In League Action -- Michigan's 4-2-0 record in Big Ten action is the second winning league record for the Wolverines in the last three years and its third in its 11 seasons as a varsity sport. Michigan's best season in league action was during the 2003 season when U-M posted a 5-1-1 record.

End of Season Awards Time -- On Thursday (Nov. 11), the Big Ten will announce the all-conference awards and, if the awards from throughout the season are any indication, several Wolverines have a shot to hear their names called. Freshman Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) is a candidate for Freshman of the Year, while senior Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) and sophomore Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) have a shot for all-conference honors along with Soony. This season, Michigan has earned two Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors and two National Team of the Week awards.

TV Time -- Should the Wolverines advance past the first round in this week's Big Ten Tournament, they will be playing in games televised on the Big Ten Network. The Wolverines have a 2-8-1 record when playing in televised contests all-time. Michigan had three games televised this season and posted a 1-2 record (a win over Penn State and losses to Indiana and Akron). In Big Ten Tournament action, U-M has played in one televised match, a 1-0 loss to Indiana in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Michigan Hits 11 Wins -- Michigan picked up its 11th win of the season with a 4-2 win over Big Ten rival Northwestern (Nov. 6). In 11 years as a varsity program, the Wolverines have reached at least 10 wins in eight of those years. The last time Michigan had at least 11 wins was during the 2008 season when U-M reached the NCAA Sweet 16. The Wolverines have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in three of the four years that they have posted at least 11 wins.

Soony Saad Has Record-Breaking Freshman Campaign -- Freshman forward Soony Saad has had a record-breaking rookie season. In just 17 games, he has broken the seven-year-old single-season record for goals in a season with 15, as well as the single-season record for points with 34 (15 g, 4 a). Additionally, he set a new single-season record for shots with 112; the previous record was 68 set by Mauro Fuzetti (2006-09) in 2009. Saad has also scored a hat trick -- the seventh in program history -- this season.

Saad Claims Second Big Ten Player of the Week Honor -- Freshman forward Soony Saad collected his second Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor after notching a goal and an assist in Michigan's 4-2 win over Northwestern on Saturday. Saad's goal, his 15th this season, set a single-season record at Michigan, breaking the old mark set in 2003.

Meram is on a Roll -- Senior forward Justin Meram has been on a roll in U-M's last three outings. Meram is currently on a three-game scoring streak after tallying a goal in U-M's 4-2 win over Northwestern (Nov. 6) in the regular-season finale. This is Meram's second three-game scoring streak of the season and is the second longest of any Wolverine this season. Teammate Soony Saad had a five-game scoring streak earlier this season. Meram is second on the team in all offensive categories and leads the team with seven assists. Meram also leads the way in game-winners with four this season.

Michigan Offense Looking Good -- The U-M offense is clicking heading into postseason play. U-M is on a three-game winning streak and is lighting it up on the offensive side of the ball. In its last three games, U-M is outscoring its opponents 12-5, including posting a season-high five goals in a 5-1 win over Bowling Green on Oct. 27 and a Big Ten high of four goals in a 4-2 win over Northwestern (Nov. 6). Justin Meram has scored four goals in the last four games, while Hamoody Saad has tallied a goal in each of U-M's last two games. Meram and the Saad brothers have accounted for nearly 80 percent of Michigan's offense this season.

Saad to Saad -- Soony Saad and Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) are the first set of brothers to play for the Wolverine since Mychal Turpin (2001-04) and Robert Turpin (2000-02) and they certainly have not disappointed. The Saad brothers have tallied a combined 20 goals and have accounted for five of Michigan's 11 game-winners this season. For comparison, in the two years that Turpin's played together they recorded a combined 15 goals. [ A Shared Passion: The Saad Brothers (BigTen.org) ]

Leaders of the Big Ten -- The Wolverines continue to lead the Big Ten in shots (350), shots per game (19.44), goals (37), goals per game (2.06), corners (110) and fouls (227). Michigan freshman Soony Saad also leads the league in shots (112), shots per game (6.59), point (34), points per game (2.00) and is tied for first in goals (15) and goals per game (0.88). Forward Justin Meram is tied for second in the league in assists (8) and is second in assists per game (0.47) and is third in game-winning goals with four.

Wolverines in the National Rankings -- Freshman Soony Saad is making his way up the NCAA statistics rankings. Saad is currently second in total points (34), points per game (2.00), and tied for second in goals per game (0.88), and total goals (15). Senior Justin Meram is tied for 19th in total assists (8) and tied for 24th in assists per game (0.47). As a team, the Wolverines are 16th in scoring offense with 2.06 goals per game, tied for ninth in total goals (37) and tied for 29th in win-loss percentage (0.694).

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That -- Michigan comes in at No. 7 in the NSCAA Great Lakes Region poll this week. The Wolverines are also ranked No. 34 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 48 poll and are receiving votes in the NSCAA Poll ... Latif Alashe tallied his first career goal against No. 23 Michigan State on Oct. 30. Alashe has started in 36 consecutive games and has yet to miss a start in his U-M career ... Michigan is looking for its first-ever Big Ten Tournament title. The Wolverines have reached the finals just once in the 10-year history of the program.

NUMBERS GAME

Michigan vs. Big Ten Opponents

Indiana
2010 Meeting: Oct. 10 at Indiana, 2-1 (L) -- All-time series: 1-13-1
Michigan State
2010 Meeting: Oct. 30 at Michigan, 3-2 (W) (OT) -- All-time series: 3-9-1
Northwestern
2010 Meeting: Nov. 6 at Northwestern, 4-2 (W) -- All-time series: 9-4-1
Ohio State
2010 Meeting: Sept. 25 at Michigan, 1-0 (L) -- All-time series: 5-8-1
Penn State
2010 Meeting: Oct. 3 at Michigan, 2-1 (W) -- All-time series: 4-9-1
Wisconsin
2010 Meeting: Oct. 10 at Wisconsin, 3-2 (W) -- All-time series: 9-2-3

U-M in Big Ten Opening Round - 4-5-1
U-M in Big Ten Semifinals - 1-4-0
U-M in Big Ten Finals - 0-1
U-M in Neutral Site Games - 16-13-0

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Monday, Nov. 15
-- NCAA Selection Show (ESPN), 4:30-5 p.m.
Thursday, Nov. 18 -- NCAA Tournament First Round (TBA)

Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423


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