Michigan-Oklahoma: Beilein, Wolverines Working Wizardry

joel bradleyContributor IMarch 20, 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - MARCH 13:  DeShawn Sims #34 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to pass the ball out of the post against Dominique Keller #23 of the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second round of the Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 13, 2009 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

This wasn't supposed to happen. Not this year. Not this soon. Yet, here we are, watching Michigan, totally out-manned, win.

There is always that team in the tournament that America falls in love with. It isn't Michigan at this point, but it may be after Saturday. John Beilein is the true wizard in Ann Arbor; he just doesn't require snake oil.

It is almost as if Beilein says, "Take your five-star blue-chip recruits and try to coach them and keep them there for four years. Me? I'll take a shooter who wants an education."

Mr. Beilein has always fielded solid tournament teams. To him, it doesn't matter what the won-loss record says at selection time, as long as his team has learned what is necessary to compete in the tourney.

The Iowa game in which Beilein took out Manny Harris for the entire overtime, a game Michigan lost by 10, taught Manny a valuable lesson: Always bring your A-game. Since that game, Manny has brought his A-game, and that showed up Thursday night against Clemson.

Which has now placed the Wolverines in Oklahoma's way.

After watching Oklahoma play Thursday night, I believe Michigan has a very good chance of advancing to the Sweet 16. When OU's Blake Griffin has the ball, just watch the rest of the team. They stand and watch, and that is not good for playing in the NCAA tournament.

Teams that are successful in the tournament are teams that play well together, consistently. The Sooners are good—I am not saying that they aren't—but they will have a tough time trying to oust Beilein's bunch.

I see DeShawn Sims playing strong against Griffin. If you look at their respective numbers, Griffin is 6'10", 251 pounds while Sims is 6'8", 235 pounds.

Sims can do this. He may or may not believe he can, but I am willing to bet Beilein will have him playing some inspired basketball on Saturday in Kansas City.

Just look back to the Duke game and remember how well he played when he was needed. Expect the same Saturday night.

Regardless of what happens Saturday, this year has been special and if you're a Michigan fan like myself, enjoy this to its fullest extent.

Go Blue and welcome back to March Madness.

Thank you John Beilein.