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Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and the Michigan basketball team open the NCAA Tournament on Thursday as the No. 3 seed in the West Region.

Why Michigan isn’t playing in Detroit for the 2018 NCAA Tournament

Rachel Lenzi

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.

Why is Michigan not playing in Detroit for the NCAA Tournament? — Ryan Markham, via Facebook

Believe it or not, Michigan has a lower overall seed in the NCAA Tournament than Michigan State.

Michigan and Michigan State earned 3 seeds in the NCAA Tournament, but the Spartans earned a higher overall seed — No. 9 to Michigan’s No. 11.

With Purdue and Michigan State, two higher-seeded Big Ten teams, already in Detroit, not everyone could be accommodated this March.

The NCAA selection committee won’t put three teams from the same conference at one site, thus moving Michigan to … Kansas. The Wolverines (28-7) are the No. 3 seed in the West Regional, and open the tournament at 9:50 p.m. Thursday in Wichita, Kan., against No. 14 Montana.

It would have been the most logical move to put the Wolverines at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit for the NCAA Tournament. A new building, a strong local fan base, and a minimal cost of travel would have made shipping the Wolverines to Detroit ideal.

“It would have been really convenient for everybody,” Wolverines coach John Beilein said of opening the NCAA Tournament in Detroit. “I don’t understand how they get the 2 or the 3 because I remember in [2013] we had Michigan State and ourselves there.

“But [the NCAA committee] they’ve got a difficult job.”

Sure, Michigan would have liked the 45-minute drive to Detroit, as well as the luxury of sleeping in their own beds during the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament.

But the Wolverines didn’t seem too bothered by the fact they will travel to Kansas.

“We’re a 3-seed in the NCAA Tournament,” Wolverines forward Moritz Wagner told reporters Sunday. “I have nothing to complain about.”

By the way, did you see that side of the bracket? Kansas, Michigan State are Duke are in the Midwest region. It’s arguably the most daunting of the four regions.

For the sake of a strong tournament run, opening the NCAA Tournament in Wichita is something that Michigan can work to its advantage.

Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here