2009 UMTailgate.com Tournament Challenge information is available here.
***UPDATE***:Â Thursday: Michigan vs. Clemson is PRIME TIME... 7:10pm!!!!
We came...we saw...we crapped our pants...then we celebrated...and then Baby Beth sat in Zack's tourney chair.
The Selection Special event at Crisler arena was a great idea that almost wasn't. I shutter to think about how bad things would have gotten if we hadn't received that bid. As luck would have it, our regional was the last to be announced, and you could feel Coach Beilein, the team, and the crowd start to really tighten up as seed after seed went by...without mention of the Wolverines. But the anticipation and trepidation made it that much better when we were rewarded with the #10 seed in the closing minutes of the bracket reveal. And then...chaos. I've seen countless selection shows in my lifetime, and always wondered just how authentic the surprise was for players and coaches when they saw their names on CBS. I can tell you, I was watching Beilein like a hawk, and he didn't know. He went back and forth between Sims and Harris as it came down to the final bracket, probably going over with them exactly what the rest of the experienced tournament followers already knew. If they're taking 7 from the Big Ten, it's us vs. Penn State, and we are probably in. If they're taking 6, we're not in, as Illinois has yet to be announced. I watched the cameraman, hoping to see some kind of signal that he needed to be ready with a shot. I watched the cameraman's assistant, who seemed to be on a direct line to headquarters via his earpiece, to see if he was getting some kind of word about readying the feed. Nobody knew. Either that or they are great secret keepers with tremendous poker faces. Poker face...yes, please cue more Lady GaGa.
That Wisconsin bid at #12 made us all nervous. They beat us twice, and they, at a 12-seed, were one of the last in. But then Minnesota came in at #10...and we beat them twice. Oh the confusion. But in the end, we got what we wanted, minus maybe the chance to play in Dayton.
Coach Beilein was the host and emcee, and spoke to the crowd both before the show and after. This is a class guy. He said all the right things, and he loves Michigan. He wanted us there, the Michigan fans, not as some promotional idea, or to get more ticket sales or bolster support, but because he wanted us to share in this moment, together, as a Michigan family. In short, I fell in love with Coach tonight. I'm in...not that I wasn't before.
Here are some pics from the event. Thanks to tailgaters Baby Beth and Zoe for going with me and smuggling me in to the student area, even if everybody around us thought I was their dad...or maybe an uncle. We had a great and close vantage point, and I've got some great video footage of all of this that I will certainly try to youtube tomorrow.
Thursday bitches! Thursday!