Matt Shepard, the voice of Michigan basketball, speaks with Michigan freshman big man Mitch McGary, one of the catalysts to the Wolverines' run to the Sweet 16. McGary said people shouldn't be surprised at U-M's success, and he and his teammates are anxious to keep winning for the seniors.
He also called analyst Charles Barkley out for the former NBA standout's comments that the Big Ten remains overrated.
"I'm not surprised," McGary said of his team's run. "I am glad we're peaking at the right time, getting back to our top 10 potential we showed at the beginning of the season. We've shown a lot of heart - I'm trying to bring a lot of energy and hope the team is feeding off that."
McGary has averaged 17 points and 11.5 rebounds in two NCAA Tournament wins. The Big Ten, meanwhile, is 10-3 in Tournament play.
"If [Barkley] thinks it's overrated, I think he needs to do a double take and realize that going through this conference is no joke," McGary told WDFN's Shepard. "You don't realize it going through the season, but everybody had like four or five losses in the top four or five teams with every game going down to the wire. But going into the tournament, anything can happen playing these out of conference teams."
Michigan, Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan State have all made it to the Sweet 16, while Illinois was a bad call away from a chance to upset Miami. Of the teams that made it, only Wisconsin didn't win a tournament game.
"I'm a supporter of the Big Ten," McGary said. "Indiana slid by and I'm glad all the Big Ten teams got into the Sweet 16 - that's four of the 16 Illinois played a great game and I thought they might take down Miami.
"I'm glad the Big Ten has so many in the Sweet 16 so they can represent this conference."
McGary and his teammates will face Kansas in Arlington, Texas Friday for the right to advance to the Elite Eight.
"They're always a powerhouse team in the Big 12, even in the nation … we're thrilled to still be playing in March, but to be playing Kansas (is great)," he said. "We play in one of the best conferences in the country. It has prepared us very well, kind of gave us an endurance throughout the season that makes it capable for us to make a long run."