Our Write Side Picture Prompt: Imogene and Luca

March 19, 2017 by  
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Our Write Side picture prompt rockandddrool.com

Our Write Side Dark Room Prompt Rules, because there are always rules:

1. The photo is here to spark your imagination. Use it as the landscape for your story, to remind you of a moment in your past, or the punch line to a joke. Use the photo as inspiration in any way you want.
2. Your submission can be fiction or nonfiction, memoir, poetry, dark or humor – your pick.
3. Please no adult content, no racial or political posts. Also, where applicable, please include a trigger warning introduction.
4. Keep your word count to 1000 or less. (Don’t worry if you go over, we won’t count.)
5. Link to your submission’s post URL in comments. If you don’t have a blog, you can add your entry to the comments below.
6. Link to this page’s URL in your post.
7. Limit one entry per person.
8. Submission deadline is Wednesday, midnight CST (Thursday, 5 a.m. GMT)

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Her heart came to a full stop as she made her way up what was once a grand drive, but time and an obvious lack of care had diminished it to pebbles and rubble. The large Plantation-style house was being strangled out by Kudzu, ancient tree branches draped in moss, and other natural born killers. From what Imogene could tell from behind her dusty windshield and lack of sunlight, the entire property was so run down that it was hard to imagine anything was salvageable. She could only guess how it would look in broad daylight because dusk has a way of softening deep wrinkles.

“Some inheritance.” She felt like crying. Sight unseen, she sold everything she had in the city and made her way to the estate that had been in her family for generations and was now her charge. She felt a familial obligation, despite the fact that there was no family left to oblige. Her great uncle Randolf, an eccentric man whom she had only heard about but never met, had lived in the house until he died a month prior. He had been the one depositing her trust fund allowance into her bank account since she had been 18. Her guardian since her parents died, he never insisted she come for a visit and she never asked. Too busy with college and life, she took for granted money would always be replenished but she never considered visiting the man who made it happen. Now it was too late, and she was starting to wonder if inheriting this house was some form of punishment. “This place better not be haunted. But, omigod it wouldn’t shock me if it was.”

Slowly exiting the car, she inspected as much of the area directly around her as she could. Darkness was coming fast, bringing with it some seriously crazy looking shadows. Imogene figured she only had a few more minutes until it became pitch black. Based on what sprawled out before her, she couldn’t understand how anyone possibly inhabited this mess. It was such a dreadful wreck from the outside, she shuddered at what the inside held in store for her.

Sighing, she grabbed her luggage from the trunk and got the keys to the front door ready. She didn’t bring much in her car, a moving truck would be arriving within a week with the rest of her stuff. As she slowly made her way to the front door, a light snapped on, the vines across the window casting snake-like shadows over the rough driveway.  Imogene, who didn’t consider herself to be a faint-of-heart-type woman, stopped dead in her tracks. As far as she knew, the house had remained deserted since the death of Uncle Randolf. Or, maybe the light was on one of those timer thingies to keep people from trying to rob the family jewels from generations of wealth.

A chill coursed its way down her spine as scenes from horror movies played in her mind. All the what-ifs floating around threw her into fight or flight mode, and flight was sounding really good right at the moment. “Oh, c’mon. You’re being stupid. It’s an old house, no one is waiting to slash out your heart and make dinner from it.”

With shaking hands, she tried to fit all the various keys in the lock until she found the one that fit. With a hard twist, the lock clicked. Extremely hesitant, she pushed open the creaky door. “Note to self, oil the hinges because this door is fitting for a Poe story.”

With one foot inside the massive, musty smelling foyer, she decided maybe she should announce herself. Just in case. “Hello?” Her voice was as shaky as her insides, “Anyone here?”

It was darker inside than it had been outside. The sound of heavy footsteps echoed from overhead causing her to drop her luggage with a loud thud onto the hard surface of the unseen floor. The only thing keeping her from a blood-curdling scream before a dramatic faint was that she was sure ghosts wouldn’t make as much noise walking as whoever was up there was doing. Besides, she had never fainted before in her life, and she wasn’t going to start now.

“Hey, hello.” Responded a husky male voice, “Hang on, I’ll be right there.”

Cautious relief replaced the violent chills, “Ok.” Her voice sounded like a squeak, but it was the best she could muster under these circumstances.

The shadow of a large man appeared at the top of the stairs. With a flick, lights illuminated a crack-filled, black and white marble foyer, and transformed the man-shadow into a living, breathing, all-male man, “Ah, Imogene. I was just getting your room ready for you.” He bounced down the stairs and came toward her so fast, it caused her to back up closer to the front door. With a hand extended, “I’m Luca, sort of the new-ish handyman around here.”

Before she could stop herself, a snort escaped as she looked around the less than well-kept house, “Well, you’re clearly not so handy!”

Luca’s dark eyes flashed for a second, then a slow smile showed off a deep dimple in his left cheek, “I actually haven’t started working yet, but I was hired to help you fix up this place. I guess you could say that I’m a part of your inheritance.”

Imogene paused for a moment, taking in his full form. He definitely wasn’t bad to look at, despite the scare he gave her. Dark hair, even darker eyes made him sort of mysterious looking. Well, as mysterious as a handyman named Luca could be. She wished she was better with clever responses but all she could come up with was, “Oh. Ok.” Before she picked her luggage up and held it out to Luca.

His dimple showed itself again, “You must be exhausted and starving after the long drive, I’ll show you to your room and then I’ll go order us a pizza. Sound good?”

He didn’t wait for an answer as he grabbed her heavy bag and bounced the stairs, two at a time. Trying to keep up, Imogene followed Luca down a long, threadbare carpeted hallway. She was too busy looking at all the pictures lining the worn, aging walls to notice he had come to a stop, and she crashed into him. Steadying herself on his thick arm, “Oh wow, sorry about that.”

He didn’t seem to even notice her hand remaining on his arm, “Lots of stuff to look at around here. Some of it is priceless, from what I understand. My old man worked for your uncle for years. Actually, someone in my family has always been around here, working for someone in your family.” They entered the room which was probably so grand back in the day, and now it just screamed to be refinished and refurnished. “This is the best bedroom, I scoped them all out. And, you definitely don’t want your uncle’s room, that one even gives me the creeps.”

Ghost stories started haunting her brain again, causing her heart to race wildly, “Will you be staying here, too?” The thought of being alone in the house with her crazy imagination, especially the first night, was enough to make that flight sensation come back in full form. A big, strong, good-looking guy in the house would probably make her feel a tad bit better.

He shrugged, “I mean, that’s the plan. I’m temporarily living here now, too. Just until we get the house in decent liveable condition for you, of course.”

She threw him a relieved smile, “Pizza sounds good, thanks. Just no onions or green peppers.”

Backing out of the room, Luca gave her the thumbs up, “Got it. This room is an en-suite, so do what you gotta do and I’ll meet you downstairs in a few minutes.”

Imogene nodded in agreement, and she could hear Luca dialing his cell phone to order their pizza. She glanced around her room and headed toward the window that had been the cause of her initial scare. The house was going to be a massive undertaking, her degree in English literature definitely wouldn’t be coming in handy. Hopefully, Luca was going to be some help.

Running her tongue over her hairy feeling teeth, she realized her breath must smell like something had crawled into her mouth and died there. Driving for eight hours could do that to a person. She had only grabbed her clothes, her carry-on had her makeup, toothbrush and other freshen up essentials in it, and was still in the back seat of her car. One thing she was super self-conscious about was speaking while under the influence of bad breath. Especially if it meant talking to a good looking male person.

“Oh well,” she groaned to herself as she turned away from the window, “This isn’t a date. He’s as obligated to be with me as I am to be at this house.” Too bad, he’s pretty hot, a voice that sounded nothing like hers whispered inside her brain.

Squeaking, she practically jumped out of her room and raced downstairs to where Luca was standing, waiting. She knew she must have looked terrified, but Luca let out a laugh, “Ah, so it seems you met our friendly ghost.”

“Ghost? There’s a ghost?” Her legs wobbled beneath her before buckling altogether.

Acting fast, Luca grabbed her, “Oh honey, you don’t know the half of it.”

That was the last thing she needed to hear.

For the first time in her life, Imogene dramatically fainted.

 

 

The post Our Write Side Picture Prompt: Imogene and Luca appeared first on ROCK AND DROOL.

LED Project Show And Tell Night

March 18, 2017 by  
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The theme for March’s second member meeting was LED Project Show And Tell

8 Reasons Michigan Is A Better Tournament Team This Year Than Last Year

March 14, 2017 by  
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I think we can all agree last year's tournament showing was disappointing. In 2015, Michigan had to play in a Round of 4 game just to get in to the first round. When they did, John Beilein’s team blew a double digit lead against a Notre Dame team they should have beat. The season was fraught with question marks as 10 of Michigan's 11 losses were by double digits.

The ironic thing is, two games into the Big Ten Tournament, this year’s Michigan team had the same record as last year's team (and had just knocked off the #1 seed both times, as well). But if the Wolverines’ dominant play lately isn’t already a testament, this is not the same team as last year’s group, and they’re primed for a much deeper run in the NCAA Tourney. Here's why:

#1. The maturation of the Michigan big men

Last year, we screamed and buried our face in a pillow any time an opposing center got the ball down low. This year, even in some of our biggest losses, our bigs are not getting outscored and they’ve even learned they are allowed to block other players when they shoot. That is actually a huge plus in a Big vs Big scenario.

Sometimes, if you can at least score on a big, you can get him in foul trouble, which is sometimes just as good as blocking him. D.J. Wilson, in particular, can guard any position and contributes even when he is not scoring. Plus, it’s great to see Donnal on the bench. It was nauseating when he was our starting center, but he fills in just fine as a sub. It's safe to say our size is no longer our biggest liability on offense. As a matter of fact, it's one of our greatest assets.

#2. A deeper bench from which to draw

I don't know if you've noticed, but two starters from last year are now on the bench. It is a little sad, but it also means Beilein is recruiting better younger players and developing them. Donnal is a decent relief big and Duncan Robinson can completely change the pace and feel of the offense.

Meanwhile, the former Mr. Basketball of Ohio (Xavier Simpson) is coming along nicely. I am not saying he's the next Trey Burke, but he even in his limited playing time he is showing that he can do some things Walton can't do: like force his way into the lane. Look for little Simpson to get more playing time in the tournament and for him to do some special things.

#3. Zak Irvin is no longer our top scorer

I get it, everybody likes it when he buries a three in someone's face, but we're not at the neighborhood park trying to school Freddy from across the street. Michigan was great when Zak Irvin was our 7th or 8th best player back in the day, and now, with Walton being more aggressive and Wagner maturing as a player, we don't have to rely on him chucking up low percentage shots. Luckily he’s started to take better shots and his teammates have benefited from better looks.

#4. This team wins against higher quality opponents

As previously stated, 10 of our 11 losses last year were by double digits. This year, we only have 4 losses by double digits (the last coming on January 11th, the infamous “white collar” game). But this year’s team has won against six top-50 opponents, five of those coming since February.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Final-Michigan vs Wisconsin Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

#5. Mo Wagner is the Truth

Yes! I am on the German Vulksbandwagon! There are times he loses vision and can't pass himself out of tight spaces, true. He also gets into foul trouble just about every game (but he seemed aware of that against Wisconsin and did a good job), but the fact is that at the end of the day he can create scoring opportunities in ways NO one on that team can. Big men are not fast enough and guards aren't big enough to guard him. If only he can learn there are two halves in a game...

#6. Derrick Walton, Jr. is even Truthier

Boy, did we ever need him to have a big senior season and boy did he deliver. It's not just the freak game at Nebraska with 18 points, 16 assists (ridiculous), and 5 steals. It’s not just the 29 points and 9 assists against Minnesota. He's been stepping it up all year in ways that haven’t made the box score, and he’s only got more comfortable with the more games he’s played.

I’ll want to see how he will fare against bigger, stronger guards, but it’s hard finding guys as big and strong as Walton. This is a HUGE advantage for Michigan. John Beilein simply cannot win without a good/great point guard. His offense knows just as much about post moves as Warren Beatty does about reading cards. We will need everyone to contribute, but Walton's play is the X-factor.

#7. This defense is what wins the day, though

I feel like 90% of any given tournament game is about match-ups. Last year, we had Donnal starting at the 5 spot, with Irvin at the 4 spot. That was a nightmare I hope I don't have to relive, since neither one of them could guard their opponents' position.

But this year, it's been Wagner and Wilson with Donnal coming off the bench. That has been a great duo in the Big Ten. Going into the Big Ten Tournament, three of their four wins against teams in the top of the RPI were because they held their offense under 60 points. Last year, that happened ONE time against Purdue and it was a pretty big fluke.

Last year, we gave up 80 points or more to opponents 7 times - all of them blowout losses. This year, we did it 5 times, 2 of those were overtime games, and the only one that was not a road game we won. We currently rank 38th in the country in points allowed.

#8. ..And they know how to follow through

Sure, the 2016 team upset the #1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament last year too, but the next day they got blown out by Purdue. This year, beating the #1 seeded Purdue was just the beginning. The day after, they soundly beat Minnesota and then dispatched Wisconsin in the championship, handling every run and challenge with resolve.

The miraculous thing is that Michigan lost in the regular season to ALL FOUR teams it beat in the Big Ten Tournament. That is more than momentum. That is inspiration. If a team is going to make a run in the NCAA Tournament, it doesn't need seeding, publicity or a plethora of NBA talent. It needs 8-10 guys who all know their role and are playing inspired basketball.


So, does this mean they are going to win it all? No, but it does put them in a great position to make a run. Being a 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament comes with challenges, but being an 8 seed in a conference tourney is pretty rough, too - and Michigan aced that. I don’t think think this team is ready to go home just yet.

What do you guys think?

Tuesday Morning Brews: Afterglow

March 14, 2017 by  
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Michigan sports has a big weekend as Basketball and Women’s gymnastics take home B1G Titles

What a weekend, folks. Men’s basketball walked away from a plane accident and won a B1G Title. Women’s gymnastics likewise exited the weekend with B1G Championship hardware. Basketball is a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament and will play Oklahoma State on Friday. Also, for those that haven’t done so already, don’t forget to join our bracket challenge. Your picks must be in before noon on Thursday. The college sports landscape is pretty well saturated with basketball-related news right now, so this morning’s Brews will be a little abbreviated. We should start seeing news from football on Thursday, as spring ball is right around the corner.

Let’s hit the links:

Basketball capped a miraculous weekend with a B1G Tournament Championship on Sunday afternoon, topping Wisconsin by the score of 71-56. Derrick Walton, who had been robbed of a first team all-conference spot just days earlier, rightfully took home tournament MVP honors. Zak Irvin overcame his mid-season doldrums to put together a great close to the season and also earned all-tournament team honors. This is Michigan’s first B1G Tournament Championship since the 1997-1998 season. If you haven’t already, check out MnB’s analysis of the Mid-West regional and what it would take for Michigan to get to the elite eight.

It’s several days old at this point, but if you haven’t read this article from Brendan Quinn about the aftermath of the plane accident - you should. You should read THIS ONE from Monday morning, as well. In many ways, this was almost the weekend and championship that wasn’t. This team responded to adversity in a way that is very rare for a group of 18-22 year-olds. At the center of that was John Beilein who, somewhere between a plane crash and a B1G Title, became Michigan’s winningest coach. As our very own (and new addition to the staff) Ed Murray put it, it’s time to thank Coach Beilein.

Keeping with the big victories over the weekend theme, John Beilein has won the Coaches for Charity Challenge. This is the second year of the challenge, and Beilein’s second year winning the challenge. $100,000 will be donated to ChadTough Foundation Fund at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital. That fund is used to advance research into childhood cancer, and specifically Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) from which the foundation’s namesake, Chad Carr, died a year-ago November.

Women’s gymnastics also won a B1G Championship over the weekend, topping Iowa and three other teams at the Big Five meet to secure their 3rd regular season title. Michigan will share the title with Nebraska. Michigan has won at least a share of the B1G regular season title three of the five years it has been in existence. Including B1G Tournament titles, this is Michigan’s 25th championship in Women’s gymnastics. The Wolverines will compete for a B1G Tournament championship next weekend at Rutgers.

Men’s lacrosse scored the first victory of the young program’s career this past weekend, topping #10 Penn 13-12. Despite being in existence since the 1940s, men’s and women’s lacrosse at Michigan was only elevated to NCAA team status in 2012. Prior to then, the teams existed as varsity club teams. Prior to becoming an NCAA team, the men’s team had won 11 of the past 12 club championships. Since being elevated, the team has struggled against top-flight competition - like Penn.

Michigan women’s basketball snubbed from NCAA Tournament, earn bid to WNIT

March 13, 2017 by  
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This marks the fourth-straight season that the Wolverines have missed the NCAA Tournament.

Less than a month after being ranked in the Top 25 nationally, the Michigan women’s basketball team has been left out of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season.

The Wolverines will play in the WNIT. Michigan has played in the WNIT during the last three years and have reached the Final Four during each of the last two seasons.

Believe it or not, ESPN bracketologist Charlie Creme had Michigan in the last four teams to make the tournament and as a No. 10 seed on Sunday night.

The committee included Big Ten Conference teams in Maryland (No. 3), Ohio State (No. 5), Michigan State (No. 9), and Purdue (No. 9) to the NCAA Tournament on Selection Monday.

Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico led the team to a 22-8 record (11-5 B1G), but lost to Michigan State by 10 in their opening game of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament. Arico was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year.

The Wolverines are led by junior guard Katelynn Flaherty, sophomore center Hallie Thome, and freshman guard Kysre Gondrezick. Flaherty averages 19.9 points per game, while Thome and Gondrezick have logged 15.2 and 15.1 points per game. Flaherty was named to the All-Big Ten Conference First Team.

The WNIT Championship will be played at 3:00 PM ET on April 1st. If Michigan gets hot, the Maize and Blue could win it all.

2018 LB Brian Asamoah will no longer visit Michigan this week

March 13, 2017 by  
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Brian Asamoah will attempt to reschedule his Michigan visit for April.

Class of 2018 three-star linebacker Brian Asamoah will no longer visit Michigan on March 18th. Instead, he will reschedule his trip to Ann Arbor for April.

“I will not be visiting Michigan this week,” he said. “Due to coach (Jim) Harbaugh saying he will not be there to meet me, so I am scheduling a new date to visit when he is there.”

The 6-foot-0, 205-pound outside linebacker is ranked No. 611 in the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He is the 44th-best at his position and is ranked No. 26 in the state of Ohio.

Asamoah, from St. Francis De Sales High School (OH), has offers to play for Cincinnati, Kentucky, Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, UCLA, West Virginia, Boston College, Buffalo, Colorado State, Duke, Eastern Kentucky, Indiana, Iowa State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Purdue, Rutgers, Toledo, and Wisconsin.

“I’m visiting Michigan to get a better feel of the program,” he said. “What makes them special is their leader, who is coach Jim Harbaugh. The impact he has brought to the program in a short period of time is unreal. You can only imagine what he is going to do over time.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh has led the Wolverines to a 20-6 record across his first two seasons with the program. Michigan has been to back-to-back bowl games and Asamoah has taken notice.

“I feel good about Michigan,” the outside linebacker said. “I love the direction the programs heading towards under coach (Jim) Harbaugh.”

Check out Asamoah’s junior season highlights with St. Francis De Sales:

Those five days: From disaster to triumph for Michigan basketball

March 13, 2017 by  
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Michigan inks its place in history with historic Big Ten Tournament

It started with a plane crash and ended with a championship.

When the final buzzer sounded, Michigan fans threw their hands into the air in victory. The feeling was both joy and relief. Players rushed the court. They jumped and hugged and put on their new shirts and hats exclaiming their new title: Big Ten Tournament Champions.

Coach John Beilein stood on the court surrounded by his players, a TV camera and microphone in his face. He smiled and put his arms around his star seniors, Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton, who were standing on either side of him. “A lot of people doubted these guys,” he said.

Then he was asked about the week that his team has had. “You’re gonna tell your grandkids about those five days.”

Those five days.

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Championship Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

The Michigan basketball team was scheduled to fly to Washington D.C. on Wednesday afternoon, but as the plane accelerated down the runway the pilot was forced to abort takeoff. He slammed on the breaks. The plane skidded on the pavement and then the landing gear collapsed. It smashed into the ground and continued skidding forward through a fence and into a field. Following a quick evacuation of the plane, the damage was assessed. Only minor injuries. Derrick Walton needed stitches for a cut he suffered while leaving through the emergency exit. But the emotional toll would be the most concerning.

As ESPN commentator Dan Dakich said during a pregame interview on Thursday, this was not merely an incident. For all intents and purposes, this was a plane crash.

Back in Ann Arbor, Beilein gave his team the option: Forfeit the next day’s game or fly out early the next morning. The team held a players-only meeting. Despite reservations from some members of the team, the majority ruled. They would board a new jet early Thursday morning, head straight to the arena and play Illinois in their practice uniforms (their game jerseys were still in the belly of the plane, which was under FAA investigation).

Given the circumstances, the expectations were low for the Wolverines. Needless to say, those were shattered. The Maize and Blue came out hot and never cooled off. The lead was 11 at halftime and the final score gave Michigan a 20-point blowout. They played loose. They had fun. They didn’t think about airplanes or danger. It was all about the game they loved.

After the game, Walton told the media, “Once we got on the court, we just got back to doing what we do every day. We just wanted to give it all, have fun with it.”

Irvin echoed Walton’s words. “I think the hardest part for all of us was getting back on the plane. Once we landed, everybody was fine. We were excited to get back on the court, get everything back to normal.”

Back to normal, which, down the final stretch of the regular season, meant winning. They had won six-of-eight entering the tournament and showed no signs of slowing down, though some fans and analysts feared the traumatic events of Wednesday would soon catch up with the Wolverines.

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Semifinals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

On Friday afternoon Michigan met top-ranked Purdue. The result was a four-point overtime win. The next day they faced a tough Minnesota squad that had recently beaten the Wolverines in overtime. Michigan fought hard and led for most of the game. At halftime it was 11 points. Early in the second half, Michigan extended its lead to 13. That was when things took a turn. The Gophers stormed back and eliminated the comfortable UM lead. The game was tied at 55-55. Beilein took a timeout, which turned out to be a very wise decision. A tired Michigan team finished the game strong, hitting the big shots when needed and escaping with a seven-point win.

Later, when asked about that pivotal timeout, Beilein said, “That timeout was nothing to do about basketball. For the first time all year, I saw us bickering at each other. Somebody didn’t play defense. Somebody backed out. Somebody didn’t run a cut right. That was what that timeout was about.”

It was a teaching moment. It was another opportunity for Beilein to coach young men, not just basketball players. It was a chance for the team to regroup, refresh its mindset and refocus. Call it Beilein being Beilein.

Big Ten Basketball Tournament - Quarterfinals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Come Sunday, Michigan was looking at the chance to bring home the school’s first Big Ten Tournament Championship since 1998. The fan base was trembling with anxiety. What it would mean to close out this week with a victory. What kind of story would be told about the Plane Crash Boys, as they became known on Twitter. What a statement for a Michigan team that has been underestimated all season.

The Wolverines arrived on a mission. The game was close for most of the first half, but Michigan was able to jump out to a modest lead early in the second. But it never felt comfortable. Wisconsin battled, but Michigan held its ground. UM extended its lead to 15 in the final minute and then Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman stole the ball and dribbled out the longest 17 seconds of the season. It was all finally over.

By early Sunday evening, the Michigan basketball team had etched its name into the record books. Tournament champions. Four wins in four days. The lowest seed to ever win a Big Ten Tournament. And, more than all of that, a team that would let nothing stand in its way.

We learned this past week that there are more important things in life than basketball. But it seems for Michigan that basketball was exactly what the team needed.

Holy Brackets! Join the Maize n Brew Bracket Challenge

March 13, 2017 by  
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How does a crisp high five and some bragging rights sound?

The NCAA Tournament field is set, and now the fun begins.

Whether you’re a paper brackets person or not, filling out the field of 68 and predicting how it goes is one of our favorite past times.

So here’s your second chance to join us in the fun. We’ve created a bracket challenge for the Maize n Brew family where you can join our staff in picking how the NCAA Tournament plays out. Join our bracket challenge here, and you could win the following:

  • Bragging rights on all Michigan fans for a year.
  • A possible guest column on the website.
  • Because why not join our challenge?

This is all for fun, so keep that in mind when making your picks. Again, you can join here and let’s have some extra fun this tournament season.

This. Is. March.

Michigan opens as 1.5-point favorite over Oklahoma State in First Round of NCAA Tournament

March 12, 2017 by  
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No. 7 Michigan will face No. 10 Oklahoma State on Friday at 12:15 PM ET.

No. 7 Michigan has opened as a 1.5-point favorite against No. 10 Oklahoma State in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, according to VegasInsider. The two teams will battle it out in the Midwest Region.

The other three No. 7 vs. No. 10 games include No. 7 South Carolina vs. No. 10 Marquette, No. 7 St. Mary’s vs. No. 10 VCU, and No. 7 Dayton vs. No. 10 Wichita State. Michigan is slated to be the closest of the four games, along with South Carolina, which opens as a 1.5-point favorite over Marquette.

The Wolverines won four games in four days on the road to claiming the 2017 Big Ten Tournament championship, while Oklahoma State has dropped its last three games, including the Big 12 Tournament opener to Iowa State.

Michigan and Oklahoma State will tip-off on Friday at 12:15 PM ET from Indianapolis, Indiana.

Taking a look at the Michigan’s chances in the Midwest Region

March 12, 2017 by  
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The Wolverines could have an interesting journey ahead of them.

Michigan Basketball, fresh off of its Big Ten championship, was named as a seventh-seed in the Midwest Region of the NCAA Tournament and will kick things off in Indianapolis on Friday.

Their opening round matchup pits them against Oklahoma State, a team that went 20-12 this season and has one of the most explosive offenses in the country.

We’ll get more into the potential track meet as the week goes on. For now, let’s look at the rest of the region.

Kansas comes in as the top seed in the country and gets the winner of the play-in 16-seed game between NC Central and UC Davis. One would assume they are going to be playing on Sunday against the Winner of the Miami (FL) vs. Michigan State matchup.

Michigan State as a No. 9 seed is a bit of a head scratcher. The bubble was weak this year, so it did not seem likely that they would miss. Whether or not that was “brand bias” there or they benefitted from Mark Hollis on the Selection Committee is something to be debated in the comments section alone.

Still, they do not have an easy opening matchup going against KenPom’s No. 32-ranked team.

Kansas looks like the favorite to come out of the top half of the Midwest Region, but that’s why they play the games. Iowa State and Purdue are the biggest threats and if things hold, they will decide which of them that will be on Saturday if they advance.

Now, for the bottom half.

Creighton-Rhode Island has the makings of a popular upset pick in your bracket pools. Despite the fact that Oregon has lost Chris Boucher for the rest of the year, that’s a team that should still be able to find a way to make the Sweet Sixteen.

Louisville should find themselves playing on Sunday, but the question is who it will be. That’s where the Wolverines come in.

Should Michigan continue to play the way they have, and with a chance at revenge over 2013’s National Title game potentially on the line if they beat Okie State, which is by no means a sure thing. The Wolverines’ shot of playing into the tournament’s second weekend is extremely solid.

Louisville has the size to be a problem for Michigan. Neither of their potential games this weekend will be cakewalks, but hey, welcome to March.

Should Kansas become one of the No. 1 seeds to fall earlier than expected in this tournament, that opens everything up for the Wolverines to potentially make a run. The way that Derrick Walton is playing and the team has elevated around him gives them a chance in any game they play, even if they did get to an Elite Eight showdown with the Jayhawks.

It’s not hard to envision an Elite Eight appearance as the ceiling and it would seem that a run that far and beyond would take some more March magic. However, this team has that “it” factor right now and a lot of people are going to be picking them to go deep.

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