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NCAA Tournament 2011 Pick: Tennessee Vs. Michigan

One of the 2011 NCAA Tournament's second round highlights promises to be the No. 8 and No. 9 matchup between Tennessee and Michigan. When examining Tennessee this season there is a glass half empty / half full process to looking at the Vols. On one hand how can a team beat Pitt, Villanova, Memphis, and Vanderbilt and only be a No. 9 seed? On the other hand how can a team be a No. 9 seed and lose to Oakland, Charlotte, College of Charleston, and have their coach suspended by the SEC for the first eight games of the conference season? 

That is exactly why you find Tennessee in one of the biggest coin flip spots on the bracket. The Volunteers are talented enough with players like Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris to make some noise in the tournament. They are also equally inconsistent enough to go out in the first round to Michigan with little more than a whimper. 

Their opponent Michigan surprised many teams this season on their way to 20 wins and a 9-9 record in the Big 10. John Beilein's club is young and inexperienced but doesn't seem to be phased by their surroundings. Led by sophomore Darius Miller and freshman Tim Hardaway Jr, the Wolverines knocked off Illinois in the Big 10 conference tournament and then put a scare in Ohio State before falling 68-61. 

SB Nation bracket expert Chris Dobbertean picks Michigan in his bracket prediction.

No. 8 Michigan over No. 9 Tennessee, simply because you have no idea which Volunteer team will show up.

As big a fan of Beilein as I am, I really want to pick Michigan but ultimately I think Tennessee is too talented and that Bruce Pearl is just too good a coach. The Vols will be ready in this one and I think will win one of the better games of the second round of the tournament. 

For more on the NCAA Tournament, check out SB Nation's NCAA Basketball Hub for all of your tournament needs. 

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.