Michigan has chance to make history with dual basketball, hockey NCAA championships
During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi or here to Kevin Goheen. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.
Do you, Kevin, think there’s a good chance that the basketball team & the hockey team can win it all in 2018? How awesome would it be for the University of Michigan? — Tony Harden, via Facebook
It would be historic, that’s how awesome it would be for Michigan to win both the NCAA Tournament titles in basketball and hockey. Both teams are two wins away from making it happen.
No Division I school has ever accomplished the championship double in the same season before. Look it up yourself. Here are the list of hoops champs and the list of pucks champs. Michigan came close in 1964 when the hockey team won the seventh of its nine national titles but the basketball team lost in the semifinals before winning the third-place game, back when the NCAA played a consolation game.
The Wolverines have a real shot at making history the next two weekends. They may not be the favorite in the Final Four this weekend in San Antonio or in the Frozen Four next weekend in St. Paul, Minn., but both teams are hot and more than capable of winning it all.
Coach John Beilein’s basketball team was a No. 3 seed entering the tournament and faces upstart and 11th-seeded Loyola-Chicago in the semifinals on Saturday at 6:09 p.m. ET. Villanova and Kansas, a pair of No. 1 seeds, meet in the other semifinal, with the winners playing Monday night for the title. Turner Sports analyst Brendan Haywood says the Wolverines have the defense to win, especially if they can find consistency with their perimeter offense.
Coach Mel Pearson is in his first season after taking over for legendary Red Berenson and the hockey team will take on Notre Dame on Thursday, April 5, in the semifinals. The Wolverines are ranked No. 10 in the country in the latest USCHO.com rankings and were the No. 2 seed in the regional tournament. Notre Dame is ranked No. 2 in the country and was the No. 2 overall seed in the tournament. Fifth-ranked Ohio State also earned a top seed in the regional tournament. It will face No. 11 Minnesota-Duluth in the other semifinal.
That makes three of four teams in the Frozen Four coming from the Big Ten; Notre Dame joined the league as a hockey-only member this season and won both the regular season and conference tournament championships. Michigan went 2-2 against Notre Dame this season but was winless in five games against Ohio State. The last matchup came in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals. The Buckeyes won 3-2 in overtime.
The basketball Wolverines have won 13 games in a row. The hockey Wolverines have won 15 of their last 19 games, including a shootout victory. Junior forward Moe Wagner is the main face of the basketball team but he’s hardly a one-man show. Junior forward Cooper Marody is the leading scorer for the hockey team with 16 goals and 33 assists but he’s just one part of a team that has progressed beyond preseason expectations.
They’re both still playing and they’ve both got a real chance to bring home championship trophies. That would be historically awesome.
Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here.