The University of Michigan men’s basketball team won’t be cutting down the nets at the NCAA Final 4 in Houston this weekend, but its student managers may be.
Led by Plymouth High graduate and U of M senior Devon Wisniewski, the Wolverines’ team of student managers were just one of eight contingents to advance to Houston for the March Madness of Managers Games.
Many NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball program’s team of student managers organize their own teams and compete against the team of managers who the “real” hoops teams are playing the night before the official game.
College athletics teams’ student managers earn a high level of esteem from the coaching staff and players they work tirelessly for.
“Managers to me are the best human beings in America,” said Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo. “They’re f—ing great.”
Bound for Elite Eight
Utilizing a poll on the popular social-media platform Twitter, a 64-team bracket is established weeks before the Final Four and fan voting determines winners of each match-up leading up to this weekend’s Elite Eight, which will be settled by actual 60-minute on-court games.
Michigan was ranked No. 1 in the country at one point during the season, thanks in large part to its 5-0 record against D1 opposing manager teams.
The student managers’ tournament — and Wisniewski — even earned some love from ESPN.com, which produced a front-page article on the competition.
The Michigan-Wisconsin Sweet 16 manager matchup generated more than 50,000 votes, a Manager Games record, according to the ESPN.com article.
Roll the film
Wisniewski and his fellow maize-and-blue managers will face off against Liberty University in an Elite Eight game. Liberty defeated North Carolina State in a rare live Sweet 16 game earlier this month, 84-76.
“They streamed the game,” Wisniewski is quoted in the ESPN.com article, “so we’ll get to study some game film.”
Studying film is nothing new for basketball student manager, who put together scouting reels and recruiting reels for their respective schools’ coaching staffs.
Wisniewski, who starred for Plymouth High School’s basketball team before graduating in 2019 (he holds the school’s single-season assists record), told ESPN.com the Michigan managers created a GoFundMe account to pay for their trip to Houston.
Michigan and Liberty will be joined in Houston by West Virginia, Kentucky, Bellarmine (yes, even the Manager Games has a Cinderella), Michigan State, Miami and defending champion Notre Dame.
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