On Friday, the No. 4 seeded Michigan Wolverines will take on No. 1 seed Kansas. The Wolverines must overcome an impressive streak by Kansas head coach Bill Self. In a span that includes stops at Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas, Self is 8-0 all time against the Wolverines.
To go along with Bill Self’s individual record against the Wolverines is an impressive NCAA Tournament resume. Self has taken three teams to the Sweet 16 and has his most success with the Jayhawks. In the last seven years, Self’s Jayhawks failed to reach the Sweet 16 only once. In those six times, Kansas reached at least the Elite 8 every time.
Michigan looked impressive in their win over VCU on Saturday. The team will be hoping to expose a Kansas team that lost to non tournament teams like TCU and Baylor. The loss to TCU was part of a three game losing streak that was to all unranked teams. Michigan on the other hand suffered all its losses in Big Ten Conference play. The Big Ten, considered the best conference in the NCAA, hurt Michigan’s chances for a number one seed. Like Kansas, Michigan also suffered a loss to an unranked non tournament team (Penn State).
The real battle for Michigan will be rebounding and controlling Jeff Withey. Against North Carolina, Withey had 16 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks. The good news was Michigan got strong contributions from their big men in a win over VCU. Glenn Robinson III and Mitch McGary combined for 34 points and 15 rebounds. Michigan had only 26 rebounds in the game, an area they have struggled all season. Michigan ranks 156th in the NCAA with 35.1 rebounds per contest. To end Self’s streak, they simply have to do better on the glass.
Every streak must come to an end. Michigan will be hoping that Self’s record against the Wolverines drops to 8-1 on Friday night.