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Michigan basketball a 2 seed in NCAA tournament, opens against Montana

Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press Published 6:36 p.m. ET March 17, 2019 | Updated 7:21 p.m. ET March 17, 2019

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The No. 2-seeded Michigan Wolverines open the 2019 NCAA tournament against No. 15 seed Montana. Here’s a quick look at the Grizzlies. Wochit

Michigan basketball is headed to Des Moines, Iowa, for the first weekend of the 2019 NCAA tournament.

The Wolverines received a No. 2 seed in the West Region, where they will face No. 15  Montana in the Round of 64 for the second straight year. The game is set for Thursday at Wells Fargo Arena. Game times have yet to be announced. 

The other two teams in the pod include No. 7 Nevada and No. 10 Florida. The winners of both games will play Saturday for a berth to the Sweet 16.

Other top seeds in the West include No. 1 Gonzaga, No. 3 Texas Tech and No. 4 Florida State. 

Michigan finished 28-6 after a 65-60 loss to Michigan State in the final of the Big Ten tournament on Sunday afternoon. 

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Mar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies head coach Travis DeCuire celebrate his teams win over the Eastern Washington Eagles at the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY SportsMar 15, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Sayeed Pridgett (4) and Montana Grizzlies guard Kendal Manuel (12) battle for loose ball during the second half of the Big Sky Conference Mens Basketball Tournament  at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Weber State 78-49.Mar 15, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Bobby Moorehead (24) looks for an open teammate during the second half against the Weber State Wildcats during the Big Sky Conference Mens Basketball Tournament  at CenturyLink Arena.Mar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Timmy Falls (1) cuts down the nets to celebrate their win over the Eastern Washington Eagles at the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY SportsMar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Michael Oguine (0) celebrate the win over the Eastern Washington Eagles at the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.Mar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Sayeed Pridgett (4) and Joaquin Wortham son of assistant coach Rachi Wortham celebrate the win over the Eastern Washington Eagles at the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.Mar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Donaven Dorsey (2) jesters after making a long three point shot during the second half against Eastern Washington Eagles at the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.  Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports  Mar 16, 2019; Boise, ID, USA; Montana Grizzlies guard Ahmaad Rorie (14) is emotional at the conclusion of the of  the Big Sky Conference Mens Championship game at CenturyLink Arena. Montana defeats Eastern Washington 68-62.

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The Wolverines finished the regular season with two losses in the final five games, both to the Spartans. They came close to becoming the first team in conference history to win three consecutive Big Ten tournaments, but fell to Michigan State for the third time this season.

Still, despite a bitter ending to the conference tournament, Michigan may have improved its seeding in Chicago by avoiding an early knockout in the conference tournament. Teams that were commonly projected as either No. 2 or 3 seeds such as Texas Tech, LSU and Purdue all lost between Thursday and Friday, potentially lowering any chances those teams would move past Michigan.

Matt McQuaid accepts the Big Ten tournament championship trophy after Michigan State defeated Michigan, 65-60, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo accepts the Big Ten tournament championship trophy after defeating Michigan, 65-60, Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Aaron Henry, left, and Matt McQuaid celebrate the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State guard Cassius Winston with the Big Ten tournament championship trophy after defeating Michigan, 65-60, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman smiles after the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State guard Cassius Winston cuts the net after the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Matt McQuaid cuts the net after the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State guard Joshua Langford cuts the net after the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks to his players during the final seconds of the Big Ten tournament championship win over Michigan, Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State guard Matt McQuaid celebrates after a basket against Michigan during second half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo encourages his players during the second half of the Big Ten tournament championship win over Michigan, Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State accepts the Big Ten tournament championship trophy with confetti falling, after defeating Michigan, 65-60, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Tom Izzo, wife Lupe Izzo, and Michigan State players and coaches pose with the Big Ten tournament championship trophy after defeating Michigan, 65-60,  Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State coach Tom Izzo celebrates with his players after the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Xavier Tillman celebrates a basket against Michigan during the second half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Connor George, Matt McQuaid, Gabe Brown and Kenny Goins celebrate the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Matt McQuaid, left, and Connor George celebrate the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Kenny Goins celebrates the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State guard Cassius Winston celebrates the 65-60 win against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Aaron Henry scores against Michigan during the second half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan coach John Beilein argues a call during the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan State, Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan coach John Beilein argues a call during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan, Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Matt McQuaid scores a 3-pointer over Michigan's Zavier Simpson during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Joshua Langford kisses teammate Kyle Ahrens as he is taken off the court with a foot injury against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State players gather around Kyle Ahrens before he left the court with a foot injury against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State forwards Xavier Tillman, left, and Kenny Goins defend Michigan forward Ignas Brazkeikis during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State forwards Kyle Ahrens, right, and Kenny Goins rebound against Michigan forward Ignas Brazkeikis during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Kyle Ahrens fights for the rebound against Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Kyle Ahrens rebounds against Michigan's Ignas Brazkeikis during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan's Ignas Brazdeikis celebrates a 3-pointer against Michigan State during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State forward Xavier Tillman scores against Michigan during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Aaron Henry defends Michigan's Charles Matthews during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Nick Ward scores against Michigan's Jon Teske during the second half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Kenny Goins blocks a shot by Michigan's Zavier Simpson during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Cassius Winston blocks a shot by Michigan's Zavier Simpson during the first half of the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Cassius Winston brings the ball up court during the first half against Michigan in the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Xavier Tillman defends Michigan's Eli Brooks during the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Xavier Tillman goes for the ball against Michigan's Jon Teske during the Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan State's Nick Ward passes around Michigan's Jon Teske during Big Ten tournament championship Sunday, March 17, 2019 in Chicago.Michigan's Jordan Poole warms up before the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan State, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan forwards Ignas Brazdeikis, bottom, and Isaiah Livers warm up before the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan State, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Xavier Tillman warms up before the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.The Michigan band performs before the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan State, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.Michigan State's Nick Ward warms up before the Big Ten tournament championship against Michigan, Sunday, March 17, 2019 at the United Center in Chicago.

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The Wolverines have now made the tournament four consecutive seasons. This will be the ninth appearance of John Beilein’s 12-year tenure at Michigan. He holds a 18-8 mark in the tournament, with two appearances in the national title game. 

Last season’s team earned a No. 3 seed and finished runner-up to Villanova after a 79-62 loss in the title game. 

Michigan has been the No. 2 seed one other time in Beilein’s tenure, during the 2013-14 season. That team reached the Elite Eight. 

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter.

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