Wolverines aim for No. 1 seed



Photos:


Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014. (Tom Russo photo/Daily Reporter)


Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament, Friday, March 14, 2014. (Tom Russo photo/Daily Reporter)


INDIANAPOLIS — The last time Michigan was a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard and the rest of the Fab Five were taking the college basketball world by storm.

That was 1993. Twenty-one years later, with the assistance of six Indiana natives, the defending national runner-ups have a shot at a No. 1 seed once again.

With a 64-63 escape of Illinois in Friday’s first quarterfinal at the Big Ten Tournament, the Wolverines moved to 24-7 — they were 25-6 through 31 games last season — and earned a semifinal date with Ohio State today. With two more wins, it’s possible the Maize and Blue can secure a coveted top seed in the Big Dance.

“You know, I think we’re coming along pretty well. I think we still have some strides to make defensively. I think that’s where we’re really going to be at our best once we start locking down defensively,” said UM guard Nik Stauskas, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year. “But I think offensively we’ve been doing a pretty good job so far. Guys are getting better at communicating on defense, getting in the gaps and all that kind of stuff. We’re confident in our abilities, and, I think, going forward we’re only going to keep getting better.”

Michigan has won six straight,  and early conference tournament exits by Villanova and Kansas have strengthened the team’s case for the fourth No. 1 seed behind Wichita State, Florida and Arizona.

The team’s Indiana contingent has been instrumental in UM’s season-long success.

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