Michigan defeated Toledo in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Tuesday night by a score of 90-80. Thirteen 3-pointers — including five from Joey Baker — propelled the Wolverines to the victory.
Four Wolverines scored at least 16 points, and Michigan advanced to the Round of 16 with the win.
However, there was a lot of speculation as to whether Michigan would even play in the NIT. After all, 2022 national runner-up and preseason No. 1 North Carolina opted not to play.
After making five straight Sweet 16 appearances, some wondered if the NIT was deemed “not good enough” for a Michigan team that has had plenty of recent success in the NCAA Tournament.
After the 90-80 win over Toledo, Michigan head coach Juwan Howard laid out his philosophy as it relates to his team’s decision to play in the NIT.
“I look at it like this: we were a team that brought the basketball to the park,” Howard said. “The other two teams didn’t have a basketball. We brought the basketball, and it’s time to play. So what are we going to do? Are we going to take our basketball and go home because they didn’t pick us to play in the first game?”
“So, we’re not going to cry over spilled milk,” Howard added. “We’re not going to act like we’re entitled. We’re not going to act like it’s beneath us… we’re not going to be a team that takes our basketball and not let the other teams play.”
Michigan didn’t act like any game was beneath it on Tuesday night as it drilled 13 3-pointers, just one shy of a season high. Joey Baker dropped a Michigan career-high 21 points in the win.
The Wolverines will take on the winner of Vanderbilt and Yale in the second round of the NIT as Michigan looks to continue its NIT run and win a championship.
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