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INDIANAPOLIS — After the game, a stunning upset of No. 3 seed Tennessee to send the Michigan men’s basketball team to the Sweet Sixteen, Eli Brooks sat at the podium with a smile plastered on his face.

Questions were asked, then answered, and still, the fifth-year guard’s look stayed the same. He almost couldn’t believe what was happening — after everything that transpired this season, the Wolverines’ season wasn’t over.

And it is hard to believe, isn’t it?

After all the disappointment, the inconsistencies and the losses, Michigan is heading to the Sweet Sixteen. And it did so by beating the third-seeded Volunteers, one of the hottest teams in the country, winners of — now — 13 of their last 15. When the Wolverines needed to the most, they got over the hump and grabbed their best win of the season.

But even after the win, after all the festivities, the smiles, Brooks still looked forward.

“I don’t think we’re playing our best basketball, like to our potential,” Brooks said. “We still have a lot of mistakes that we have to clean up. Turnovers, miscommunication. That’s the scary thing with this team: If we keep on staying connected, good things are going to happen down the line.”

Brooks is right. Michigan wasn’t perfect against Tennessee. It played a good game, but not its best —15 turnovers and a couple of missed layups can tell you that. But it still found a way. And because of that, the Wolverines have a chance to salvage their season.

He’s also probably right that they can get a whole lot better. Let’s not forget the talent that’s on Michigan’s roster.

Its season might now be remembered for more than just a slap or an arduous fall from a preseason pedestal. The Wolverines gave themselves the opportunity to rewrite their narrative. 

And, hell, at this point maybe they already have. After Michigan started 7-7, who thought it was going to even make the NCAA Tournament? 

After the Wolverines blew a 17-point second-half lead to Indiana just a week ago, who thought they were going to make the Sweet Sixteen?

The story about this Michigan team has all year been about its inconsistencies, its failures, its inability to find momentum. Many thought its season would fizzle out in a far less glamorous fashion.

But none of that really matters anymore.

What matters now is that the Wolverines, in spite of everything, are starting to play their best basketball and that they’re just two wins away from the Final Four — an utterly bizarre thing to say.

Michigan has had the pieces all year. It has just never found a way to put them all together for more than one game at a time. But now that the Wolverines have finally gotten over the hump, who’s to say they can’t make a run? 

“There has never been a moment where one of our guys has been one foot in and one foot out,” Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “They bought into the culture, trusted in the culture.”

Brooks thinks the same way.

“We have a good group of guys that have the same drive, the same passion,” he said, once again smiling. “There wasn’t a second that anybody shied away. (We) bought into the system, and we’re in the Sweet Sixteen.”

Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson said something similar, albeit in a way that only he could.

“Making it to the Sweet Sixteen is, as literal as it is, sweet because nobody believed in us,” he said. “Everybody thought we shouldn’t be in the tournament. And now the people that were hating on us are going home and about to watch us next week.”

The players think that they can make their season special; that the Wolverines have what it takes to make a run and show everyone what they can be.

And at this point, maybe they’re right.