In a game that many thought would end in an upset by South Dakota State, Michigan sent a message to the rest of the tournament field that they are not just a one man show, pulling out a 71-56 victory in their “second round” tournament meeting. (It’s still the first round, regardless of what they choose to call the play-in games.)
The match-up that was billed as a battle between two of the best point guards in the country (SDSU’s Nate Wolters and Michigan’s Trey Burke), both guys neutralized each other and did not do much on the floor tonight. Advantage, Wolverines.
Tim Hardaway Jr, who I named as my NCAA Tournament X-Factor, scored 21 points, hitting five shots from beyond the arc to lead the Wolverines tonight. Glenn Robinson III was fantastic as well, scoring 21 of his own, missing only one shot from the field.
Tonight’s breakout performance came from freshman center Mitch McGary, who coach John Beilein gave the start over Jordan Morgan. McGary had 13 points and 9 rebounds in 25 minutes. The struggling Morgan played only one minute this evening.
The defensive effort was very encouraging tonight, especially given that Trey Burke was almost non-existent in this game. The Jackrabbits are one of the best scoring teams in the country, and outside of Brayden Carlson who scored 20, nobody else was able to contribute offensively. It helped that Nate Wolters chose this game to play his worst of the year, but Michigan fans will take it.
Michigan’s next opponent is VCU, who obliterated Akron by 46 points (and made me look totally foolish for picking them to upset). I will admit, doing research on Virginia Commonwealth, I did not think they were what the media made them out to be, but tonight totally changed my mind. Shaka Smart will have his team ready to go and the Wolverines will have to be ready. This will not be an easy game for the Wolverines, especially if Burke’s shooting woes carry into Saturday.
(5) VCU vs. (4) Michigan will tip off Saturday in Auburn Hills. A time is yet to be determined, but keep it locked in here for more info regarding Saturday’s game!