Wolverines face OR in Sweet 16 tonight

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They hasn't stopped winning since then. But so is Oregon State, who we had to play twice.

The Oregon Ducks entered the 2017 NCAA Tournament without one of the biggest contributors in big man Chris Boucher.

The Wolverines have looked like a sharper team since their runway mishap.

Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman: With MAAR's ability to put the ball on the floor and finish in traffic, there are times when MI fans are rightfully annoyed that the veteran junior doesn't attempt to take games over more (only four attempts in 37 minutes). The first, a one-point victory over Oklahoma State in a high-scoring affair featuring two explosive offenses. The Wolverines won 92-91, and now had a date with the No. 2 Louisville Cardinals two days later.

While Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin are Michigan's leaders, not to mention most experienced players, Wagner has become the x-factor for the Wolverines.

OR is without one of the most impactful players in the game, Chris Boucher, but is determined to make a second consecutive regional final by proving doubters wrong where success is still achievable in what ultimately defines the word 'team.' Here is what to keep in mind when breaking down what should be the most physical game of regional play. The Ducks have only lost five games all season. After Dillon Brooks missed a layup attempt, Jordan Bell corralled the rebound. When Boucher was in the lineup, it was easier, but physical defenses have been a problem for OR to overcome in the tournament. They also shot an absurd 11-15 from three point range in the second half. We've won games in pretty much every way you can think of: with our shooting; with our defense; with our passing; and, yes, with our toughness. Look for Michigan's Muhammad Ali Abdur-Rahkman to match up with Dorsey.

Frank Mason III and Caleb Swanigan have carried their teams all season long. We just had to focus in when they focused in.

Lucas has had a nice season compared to his first three years on campus, but Swanigan is at another level. Despite the coach's offer to skip the tournament, the players chose to play. MI is favored by one point.

I'd say zone is the most likely approach. "They've got a lot of guys who can shoot the three; they've got a lot of guys who can put the ball on the floor". Depending on foul trouble, that is. That's all ... possible, I guess. This is U-M's biggest advantage.

Mason and Devonte' Graham are head and shoulders better than the Purdue backcourt of P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias. "Probably the weakness of our team this year has been our defense". That's not the case this year. For a Terps team that started three freshmen, this bounceback win was huge. The Bulldogs play fourth-seeded West Virginia on Thursday. All in all, a much better situation than last season.

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OR is one of the best transition teams in the country on offense and defense. "My position wasn't the best, but they were always there for me". If the Bulldogs can beat the press, Williams-Goss' scoring ability in the half court will be very hard for West Virginia to defend. Tyler Ennis missed the front end of a one-and-one, and MI had one more chance to win the game, but Derrick Walton Jr.'s pull-up 3-point attempt came up short and the clock hit all zeros as the ball fell to the floor. Both guards are extremely well poised and rarely turn the ball over.

But again, the evidence in Oregon's favor isn't just a couple of NCAA tournament upsets.

Having to overcome all of that during one weekend?

Xavier isn't your typical 11-seed. They are throwing up awful shots from beyond the arc way too regularly. They're an 11 seed this year.

We've gone from 64 to the Sweet 16. Louisville's Quentin Snider, a risky scorer, didn't score a point during his team's 73-69 second-round loss in Indianapolis.

Graves didn't run a typical mid-major program at Gonzaga, often pulling in major-conference talent from the Pacific Northwest at a time when programs at Oregon, Oregon State and Washington all qualified as underachievers.

Mason is averaging almost 21 points as a senior this year. He'll need to keep his hand hot against the Wildcats, which won't be easy. There is a bit more of an, "Anything can happen" element to the tournament.

Trier is the perimeter leader for Arizona, but Lauri Markkanen owns the post.

"It's been one heck of a run that we're on and we're playing really well right now", Irvin said.

I nearly still can't believe it: We win the Big 10 Tournament ... in our scrimmage uniforms ... with no practice ... and barely any sleep ... after a scheiss (that's a German swear word, don't worry about it) plane crash. If they can stop him at all, that is. The Ducks, you see, returned to finals for winter term.

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