The Michigan Wolverines, who are one of those teams teetering between the “Last four in” and “First Four Out” on Joe Lunardi’s NCAA Tournament list. may have played their way into the field with Kam Chatman’s game winning three ball over top seeded Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament.
Michigan’s dramatic win was bad news for teams such as the Florida Gators, who came up just shy of pulling off the same feat in the SEC Tournament, losing a tight game to top seeded Texas A&M. The Gators 72-66 loss along with the Michigan win win all but assures they will be in the NIT under first year head coach Mike White.
Chatman was the unlikely hero that makes March Madness what it is, the greatest two weeks in basketball. Chatman had seven threes all season long, averaged 2.8 points per game and was 27% from downtown this season. Yet he may have hit the biggest shot of the year for the Maize and Blue who were staring at an NIT bid had that shot not gone.
The Michigan win was also bad news for their arch rival, the Ohio State Buckeyes, another team on the bubble, who were demolished by Michigan State in another Big Ten quarterfinal game. Denzel Valentine led the Spartans with 19 points as they reach the semifinals in Saturday. Michigan State is looking to win the Big Ten and land a number one seed for the Big Dance. With the Hoosiers out, it looks good for the Green.
Ben Simmons and LSU kept their hopes to go to the NCAAs alive with a 84-75 win over Tennessee in the SEC quarters. LSU likely needs to win the SEC Championship to get in, but a win over A&M in the semifinals would certainly make the Selection Committee stop and think.
Simmons should be well rested as he sat for 15 minutes after picking up two quick first half fouls. Five Tigers finished in double figures led by Antonio Blakeney with 22 points. If the other Tigers continue to play well, they may be able to pull off winning the SEC Tournament.
There has been a lot of exciting college basketball these last two days and Saturday promises to be full of drama and excitement.