Disappointed Michigan turns to NIT opener vs. Toledo

After not being selected to play in the NCAA Tournament, Michigan accepted a bid to play in the NIT as a No. 3 seed and will host Toledo on Tuesday night in Ann Arbor, Mich.

The Wolverines, who were ranked No. 22 in the NCAA preseason poll, had a disappointing season, finishing 17-15 overall and 11-9 in the Big Ten. In their last outing, they were bounced from the Big Ten tournament in their first game, falling to Rutgers 62-50 Thursday.

Hunter Dickinson led the Wolverines with 24 points and seven rebounds, but no other Wolverine would score in double figures. Kobe Bufkin did contribute in multiple ways, scoring nine points while grabbing seven rebounds and dishing five assists.

“At times we got a little out of character as far as what we would do,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said after the loss. “Being able to coach this team again means a great deal. These guys have put their hearts and souls into this year despite all the adversity, and we are looking forward to the opportunity to suit up and compete again.”

Toledo (27-7) had a highly successful season, winning the MAC regular-season championship outright for the third year in a row. Going into the MAC tournament as the No. 1 seed, they cruised to wins against Miami (OH) and Ohio. But they came up short against the No. 2 seed Kent State, which won 93-78 Saturday and earned the automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament.

The Rockets were led by the duo of RayJ Dennis and Setric Millner Jr., who each scored 25 points, with Millner also leading the team with 10 rebounds. Ra’Heim Moss added 13 points.

The loss snapped Toledo’s 17-game winning streak, which was tied for the longest in the nation with Oral Roberts.

“Obviously it was a tough pill to swallow,” Toledo coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “We were extremely confident. Everyone talks about how you want to be playing your best basketball down the stretch. That was us. That was us last year, too. This one hurts more than any of them.”

The all-time series between these programs dates to 1949, with only one matchup since 1983. Michigan defeated Toledo 91-71 at home on Dec. 9, 2020.

This will also be the second time these teams meet in the NIT after Michigan beat Toledo in the second round of the tournament in 1981.

–Field Level Media

FLM Direct-Baller

Field Level Media was founded by sports media executives with more than 40 years of combined experience working with the most influential media companies in the industry.

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