In some circles of the internet —  including this one — there was some chin-scratching to be done when Michigan made its way into the NCAA Tournament field without a side trip to Dayton despite a pedestrian 17-14 overall record.

There was also plenty of bellyaching done by at least one prominent online Tennessee fan because the Volunteers were dealt with the indignity of a No. 3 seed in this year’s Tourney. The feeling was Tennessee deserved at least a 2-seed.

As it turns out, maybe the selection committee was onto something.

No matter the coach, circumstances or seeds, March continues to be Michigan’s month. The Wolverines clinched their 5th straight trip to the Sweet 16 with a 76-68 win over the Vols.

Given the circumstances, magic feels like the best explanation for how Michigan continues to do this.

A nightmare matchup made more nightmarish

Tennessee’s defense was a problem to virtually every team it came across this season, ranking 2nd nationally in efficiency and 6th in steal percentage.

So when senior point guard DeVante Jones was lost for the game after logging just 12 minutes in the first half, it was reasonable to expect this game to get away from the Wolverines in the second half.

But Michigan had already played a full 40 minutes without the concussed Jones in its First Round win over Colorado State. So there was no getting scared. Freshman Frankie Collins and combo guard Eli Brooks both handled the point, just as they’d done against the Rams.

It wasn’t always pretty, but somehow the job got done.

Michigan finished the game with the same number of turnovers it had against Colorado State — 15. The past 2 games rank among Michigan’s 4 worst all year in turnover percentage. Somehow the Wolverines won both.

Matters of survival are helped greatly when shooting 50% from the field, as the Wolverines did Saturday. Michigan is now 14-0 this season when it makes half its shots or better.

Michigan’s magic kicks in on defense

This season, 36.3% of Tennessee’s total points were scored from 3-point range — a full 5% above the national average for 3-point distribution. In no game this year did Tennessee make fewer than 4 3-pointers.

The Vols can run hot and cold like any team that relies on threes to that degree, but are 42nd in the country in 3-point shooting percentage (36.5%).

On Saturday, Tennessee was a season-worst 2-for-18 from beyond the arc. It was just the 4th time all season the Volunteers made less than 20% of its threes.

For Michigan, which ranks a modest 113th nationally defending the 3, it was a season-best showing in that category. A game after allowing Colorado State to hit 12 3s, the Wolverines limited a much better 3-point shooting team to only 2 of them.

As much as you might say teams create their own luck, Michigan’s knack for moments like this at the most important juncture of the season is quite uncanny. Saturday also marked the first time the Wolverines have won consecutive games since beating Penn State and Purdue on Feb. 8 and 10.

How far will this run go?

Michigan is the first team to clinch a spot in the San Antonio Regional, which could end up becoming a virtual renewal of the Big Ten Tournament.

The Wolverines await the winner of Sunday’s game between Villanova and Ohio State. A Sweet 16 meeting between the Buckeyes and Wolverines would finally give a basketball game between the schools a similar feel as their football rivalry.

Another Big Ten team could await in the top of the bracket. No. 4 seed Illinois plays No. 5 Houston Sunday, with the winner facing either Arizona or TCU.

Whether there are 2 more B1G teams joining Michigan in San Antonio or none, or it’s Juwan Howard’s team or John Beilein’s team, one thing seems clear after the past 5 Tournaments.

In March, doubt Michigan at your own risk.

Regardless of how the Wolverines got here, they’re going to find their way forward.