ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Michigan will be on the outside looking in when the NCAA tournament begins. Again.
The Wolverines won 21 games -- their highest regular-season total since 1998 -- and had a .500 record in the Big Ten. But they didn't have many quality victories and were likely hurt by a non-conference schedule that included just three tough games and all were lost.
Michigan is headed to the NIT for a second straight season and third time in four years under coach Tommy Amaker, whose sixth season fell short of his stated goal of making the NCAAs.
"It's fair to expect us to get there this year," Amaker said in November.
Relegated to the second-tier tournament, the third-seeded Wolverines (21-12) will host sixth-seeded Utah State (23-10) on Tuesday night in the first round.
Amaker and his players openly pointed toward making the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1998, and even held out hope after beating Minnesota and losing to Ohio State in the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals.
The coach, whose future at the school has been questioned by the media, and his players were not available for comment Sunday night, but a news conference was planned for Monday afternoon.
Messages were left with Amaker on Sunday night.
Unlike last year, the Wolverines did not gather at Crisler Arena to watch the NCAA tournament selection show on TV. Michigan missed out on the NCAA tournament last season with 18 wins and an 8-8 record in the conference.
The Big Ten will be represented by six teams: Ohio State, Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan State, Purdue and Illinois.
"I can feel for Michigan," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said in East Lansing. "I said all along, they had the second toughest conference schedule."