NCAA Tournament Predictions: Michigan vs. Oklahoma State

D.J. Wilson,Zak Irvin_552149

Michigan forward D.J. Wilson (5) and guard Zak Irvin (21) start to celebrate during the closing seconds of the Big Ten NCAA college basketball championship game against Wisconsin, Sunday, March 12, 2017, in Washington. Michigan won 71-56. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

It’s March Madness, the greatest time of the year. Looking for some help with your bracket? Don’t know which teams to believe in, in this crazy college hoops season? We’ve got your back. We’re breaking down every first-round game in the field of 68, plus looking ahead at which teams will make the run to the Final Four.

7. Michigan (24-11, 10-8/Big Ten)–The Wolverines just finished off Championship Week’s most impressive run, winning four games in four days after a scary incident in which their plane slid off the runway. Witnesses said the pilot “undoubtedly saved our lives.” Michigan had to wear its practice jerseys in Round 1 of the Big Ten tournament against Illinois, and cruised to a conference title that, in retrospect, doesn’t quite seem so important.

The Wolverines will enter the NCAA’s as one of the hottest teams in the nation, and it’s not too far-fetched to picture them making a run to the second weekend. This group is young, but very talented, and led by senior guards Derrick Walton Jr. (15 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.6 apg) and Zak Irvin (12.8 ppg). What’s better than senior guards in the NCAA Tournament, right?

10. Oklahoma State (20-12, 9-9/Big Ten)– The Cowboys have a special talent in sophomore guard Jawun Evans, who paces the team with 19 points and 6.2 assists per game. They’ve really gelled around first-year head coach Brad Underwood, who ran a dynasty at Stephen F. Austin, and led the Lumberjacks to a first-round beatdown of West Virginia last year. It helps to have experienced players like junior Jeffrey Carroll (17.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and senior Phil Forte (13.3 ppg) as well.

OK State is limping into the Big Dance, having lost three straight games (though those L’s came at the hands of Iowa State and Kansas). They also suffered through a six-game skid earlier in the season, but in between reeled off 10 of 11 conference games, including wins at Kansas State and West Virginia.

PREDICTION: We think Michigan keeps on rolling, though their run should end at the hands of Louisville in Round 2.

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