Here’s how Michigan gets to the Final Four

Survive and advance. That’s the motto 68 teams will adopt for the NCAA Tournament. Shortly after the field was announced Sunday, Michigan head coach John Beilein was asked what he knew about the bracket. He knew the Wolverines were playing Montana. He knew the game was in Wichita, Kansas. “One of the other teams was Houston or something?” he asked, sincerely.

It’s the time of year when teams talk about taking it one game at a time, and they mean it. Looking ahead to the next opponent is asking to get bounced before getting there.

That’s fine for coaches and players. The rest of us are more than happy to chart Michigan’s potential path to San Antonio and the Final Four.

The first weekend

It starts with No. 14 seed Montana, the champions of the Big Sky Conference. The Grizzlies, on paper, don’t appear particularly dangerous. Their offense is ranked 82nd in the country per; their defense is 65th. They force a lot of turnovers, which usually doesn’t work against Michigan, a team that protects the ball better than every team in Division I except one.

Without knowing a thing about Montana, Beilein correctly assumed that it was a veteran team. The Grizzlies have used the same starting lineup in all 33 games this season: four juniors and a senior. But Michigan is a

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