While the name Michigan Wolverines is still a basketball house hold name, these Wolverines aren't the same ones who ascended to basketball mecca before falling to the the Louisville Cardinals in the 2013 NCAA Championship game.
However, they're the Big 10 Champions and that's something no one can bat an eye at.
Michigan is 24-11 on the season. The Wolverines have won 10 of their last 12 games. Their season felt a low point on Feb. 4 when the Ohio State Buckeyes, their rivals even on the hardwood, stunned the Wolverines at the Crisler Center 70-66. Since then, Michigan has found some confidence and sky-rocketed from out of the bracket to a seventh seed.
Led by Derrick Walton Jr., the senior has pushed his team to their first Big 10 Tournament Championship that wasn't vacated. (Michigan won the inaugural Big 10 Tournament in 1998, but vacated because of NCAA violations). Walton Jr. scored 29 points in the semifinal win over Minnesota then 22 more in the finals win over Wisconsin Badgers.
These Wolverines aren't a one-man show. They play six players at least 20 minutes and eight see at least 10 minutes a contest. Zak Irvin and Moritz Wagner both average over 12 points a contest. D.J. Wilson leads the team in rebounding at 5.4 boards a contest.
While Michigan isn't as savvy of a 3-point group as the Pokes, they shoot it with relative efficiency. Michigan is 51st nationally at 38 percent per game from beyond the arc. Walton Jr. and Wagner are both shooting over 40 percent from deep. They're not afraid to take it from different area codes. They're 11th overall in makes and 13th in attempts.
Their defense can be stingy. They're 35th nationally in points allowed at 65.5 points per game. That starts with Wilson and Irvin. Those two both have win shares north of 1.5. Six players on Michigan have win shares over 1.0. Compare that to Oklahoma State, which has no players over 0.8.
In comparison to the RPI, Michigan's schedule shows zero bad losses. Well, that depends on your definition of a bad loss. Their worst loss was the Feb. 4 defeat to Ohio State. The Buckeye's RPI was No. 88. They have five quality wins. SMU is their best one on Nov. 18 as SMU's RPI is No. 15. They beat Purdue twice, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Both Oklahoma State and Michigan have one combined opponent: Texas Longhorns. Michigan beat the Longhorns 53-50 on Dec. 6. Oklahoma State split with the Longhorns.
Michigan is 6-0 on neutral courts this season and Oklahoma State is 2-2. When the two are head-to-head, Oklahoma State is 1-2 all-time vs. the Wolverines. The two teams haven't met since 1997 when Oklahoma State lost 75-65 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The two met once in the NCAA Tournament in 1992 when Michigan beat Oklahoma State 75-72. The loss in the Sweet 16 to Michigan doesn't technically count since the Fab Five had all of their victories vacated by the NCAA.
Oklahoma State and Michigan are set to tip-off on March 16 at 11:15 a.m. at Bakerslife Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.