Earlier this week, sometime around mid-afternoon on Thursday, Phil Martelli was in a passing conversation about Michigan’s upcoming tournament in Las Vegas. Martelli, a third-year assistant, was prepping for the Wolverines’ opening game against UNLV on Friday might.
Then the topic of the second game in Vegas came up. Michigan would be playing either Arizona or Wichita State.
“Wait,” I said, “Arizona!? Phil, is this the first time since …”
“Oh my God,” he said. “I didn’t even think of it until this minute.”
The cosmos has a funny way of making sure everything comes full circle and, yes, the fates have allowed for Michigan, by way of a 74-61 win over UNLV, and Arizona, by way of an 82-78 overtime win over Wichita, to meet each other in the bracket on Sunday in this ridiculous city.
For Martelli, it’s a game 25 years in the making.