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German Wagner reaches for the crown

Ann Arbor (AP) – In the US there is time again for the “March Madness”, the March madness. 68 teams compete for the championship in US college basketball – and attract millions of sports fans into its spell.

“It’s just America’s the month when everyone is crazy about college basketball,” says Moritz Wagner. The 20-year-old from Berlin is currently in the middle of his third season – and counts with his team from Michigan this year to the favorites for the victory.

“It’s pure fascination, and people love it,” says Wagner in a conversation with the German Press Agency. “I always used to look at it at night. And sometimes I think, it’s blatant that I’m here myself. Of course I’m grateful for that and very proud of it ».

In his third season, Wagner has become a versatile all-rounder and leader of his team. Born in Berlin, this season brought the University of Michigan team, the Michigan Wolverines, an average of 14.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. Both are team-internal top values. At the Big Ten tournament just over a week ago in New York, the 2.11-meter giant not only celebrated the second conference title in a row with his team-mates – he was also named the tournament’s best player.

On Tuesday (local time), the annual NCAA tournament for the championship has started. The finale will be held on April 2nd in San Antonio, Texas. For the US economy a difficult time with a damper in productivity: According to the financial portal “WalletHub” the loss of productivity last year was unbelievable $ 6.3 billion.

Number three Michigan Wolverines will face Montana Grizzlies in the first round of the knockout tournament on Thursday (local time). However, neither Wagner nor his coach John Beilein seem to know exactly what to expect. “I have never seen Montana play,” says Wagner, who used to play for Alba Berlin. “Every team in this tournament is very good. You have to get into the game well prepared, otherwise it will be over quickly. ” Beilein responded to the question of what he knows about Montana with “nothing.” It is precisely this unpredictability that makes the tournament so special.

In the last year, the finish for Michigan came in the second round. This time the team hopes for more. “We are not in the tournament to lose,” said Wagner. “I think we are confident enough, and I think if we take every game as our last game, then our chances are pretty good.”

The importance of the NCAA tournament in the American sports scene is shown not only by the fact that the first-round pairings were announced on Sunday in a two-hour live show. CBS and Turner extended their television rights in 2016 for another eighth year until 2032, earning $ 8.8 billion on the table.

Whether Wagner, who had already flirted with the NBA last year, will dare to leap into the North American professional league after this season, he left open. “I feel very comfortable here, and it would be unfair to the team to deal with my plans for the future,” Wagner said. He enjoys the attention around his person at the campus campus in Ann Arbor. “I’m asked for photos and signatures,” he said. “It’s a really cool life, which you do not have in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg”. The interest of the NBA teams, he might have awoken with his services but.

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