Matt Shepard/Twitter
Michigan team plane after accident on Wednesday, March 8

Michigan basketball’s condensed travel plans put in perspective, UM wrestlers earn national seeds and more …

Kevin Goheen

Wake up University of Michigan fans and welcome to Breakfast of Victors, Land of 10’s daily morning briefing of Wolverines athletics. We’ll get your weekdays started with all the latest Michigan news, notes and insights. Our goal is to bring you closer to the Maize-and-Blue, your favorite school.

Today is Thursday, March 9, and here’s your Breakfast of Victors …


“The safety and health of our students and staff is of the utmost importance.” – Warde Manuel, Michigan director of athletics.

The email from the Michigan sports communication department arrived just after 11:20 p.m. (ET) Wednesday night. The message containing Manuel’s statement about the events of the day was the wrap-up of a long, stressful situation that could have been much worse for the Michigan basketball team and everyone on the charter flight scheduled to take them to Washington, D.C.

High winds forced the pilot and crew of the plane to abort takeoff, but the plane slid off the runway at Willow Run Airport in Ypsilanti while braking, causing severe damage to the aircraft and forcing the evacuation of all on board. Everyone was reported safe, with only a few minor bumps and bruises, according to head coach John Beilein.

Michigan was scheduled to tip-off its second-round game of the Big Ten Tournament at the Verizon Center against Illinois at noon (ET) Thursday. It still is scheduled for that game, and the Wolverines have every intention of being there to take on the Illini.

It’s unusual for big-time Division I college basketball teams to fly in the day of a game, especially a game that starts so early, but these are the circumstances that Michigan faces. There was plenty of Twitter talk that the game time should be switched with any of the three other games planned for the day. Why not flip-flop it with the Penn State-Michigan State game scheduled as Game No. 2 on Thursday?

It’s a legitimate question.

The Big Ten, which was in consultation with Michigan throughout the day as travel plans were reworked, ultimately decided to stick with what was already in place. It was easier and more convenient to ask this of the Wolverines than deal with the logistics of changing plans for up to eight teams, their fans, the Verizon Center and its workers, the Big Ten’s broadcast partners and many others.

And that’s okay.

Does the condensed travel schedule hamper Michigan? It certainly isn’t ideal for the team, but it’s not worst thing either.

As team manager Tyler Davis captured, that scenario was avoided on Wednesday by the decisions and actions of that charter flight crew.

Wrestling earns four seeds for national meet

Freshman Logan Massa (27-2) earned the No. 2 seed at 165 pounds for next week’s NCAA national wrestling championships in St. Louis. Michigan is sending seven wrestlers to the tournament, and Massa was one of four to earn a seed in the brackets.

Freshman Stevan Micic (24-5) is the No. 5 seed at 133 pounds, while freshman Miles Amine (26-5) is seeded No. 9 at 174 pounds. Senior Brian Murphy (16-8) is the No. 10 seed at 157 pounds. Murphy was an All-American two years ago. Fifth-year senior Conor Youtsey (6-6) is a two-time All-American but unseeded at 125 pounds. Freshman Sal Profaci (13-15) and sophomore Zac Hall (17-10) are making their NCAA national meet debuts. They are unseeded at 141 and 149 pounds, respectively.

Massa’s only two losses this season have come against top-ranked and two-time NCAA champion Isaiah Martinez of Illinois, including in the 165-pound final at last weekend’s Big Ten championship meet.

Breakfast links

  • The hockey team hosts No. 11 Penn State at Yost Ice Arena Friday and Saturday, the final weekend of the regular season.
  • Brooklyn is hosting the ACC tournament for first time this week. Jim Boeheim doesn’t think it should ever return to its traditional home of Greensboro, N.C. Greensboro was supposed to be a host site of first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games next week until the NCAA switched the site to Greenville, S.C. because of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2. Not only has the law, which many find to be discriminatory, cost North Carolina the chance to host NCAA games, it has robbed us all of a potential great storyline. You know the bracket committee would’ve put Syracuse in and sent the Orange to Greensboro.
  • The No. 17 Michigan softball team travels to Lexington, Ky., this weekend to play in the John Crupp Classic at the University of Kentucky. It will play four games in the tournament, including against host and No. 19 Kentucky Sunday at 2 p.m. (ET). The Wolverines (12-6-1) have played eight games already against ranked opponents this season.