Michigan Will Face Toledo in the First Round of the NIT

Juwan Howard and Hunter Dickinson prepare for the NIT.

The 2023 Michigan basketball team fell short of their ultimate goal to play in the “Big Dance,” but the Wolverines aren’t done playing basketball in Ann Arbor just yet. Michigan will host Toledo in the first round of the NIT tournament, the consolation competition unique to NCAA basketball. Here is what you need to know about Michigan basketball’s chances to win the NIT. 


The Toledo Rockets certainly aren’t pushovers. They had won 18 straight games prior to losing to Kent State in the MAC championship on Saturday. They had even won the regular season conference championship, but unfortunately for them, the conference’s bid to the NCAA tournament went to Kent State. They missed the field of 68. Toledo is ranked 82nd in the NET rankings, losing the only quad 1 game they’ve played all season.

The Contenders

Michigan is familiar with a few of the contenders in the NIT. Their conference foes, Rutgers and Wisconsin, both sit in good positions to take a shot at winning the tournament. But the Wolverines will first have to worry about getting out of their quadrant of the bracket, which contains potential tough matchups with Vanderbilt and Clemson. The other favorites look to be Oregon, Oklahoma St, and a Villanova team that is no stranger to postseason runs.

Michigan's Mindset

It’s difficult to predict how Michigan will come out and play. Will they come out hungry and focused? Or is the sting of missing the tournament too much for Juwan Howard’s squad? With Jett Howard and Kobe Bufkin potentially looking ahead to NBA Draft implications, will they fight hard to increase their stock or take it easy to protect their health? 


While the Michigan basketball program seems to have more questions than answers as of late, one thing is for certain. They will have to find a way to win their NIT opening-round game against the Toledo Rockets this Tuesday or the season will be over for the Michigan Wolverines.