For the second-straight year, Michigan racked up two comfortable wins in the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. This marks the 13th Sweet 16 appearance in program history.
Here is how the Wolverines got there:
Round Of 64: Michigan 57, Wofford 40
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Stat Of The Game: Wofford's effective field goal percentage: 34.9 percent
It is not secret that Michigan is not a great defensive team. If you look at effective field goal percentage - which is calculated by giving three-point makes 1.5 times the amount of weight as two-point makes - the Wolverines are very average, defensively.
On the season, Michigan has allowed opponents to post an effective field goal percentage of 48.9 percent, which ranks No. 131 nationally.
There have been 16 opponents who have finished better than 50.0 percent in a game against Michigan, and four of them posted an effective field goal percentage better than 60.0 percent.
On the flip side, Wofford is just the fourth team to effectively shoot worse than 40.0 percent vs. Michigan this year. And just one team had a worse effective field goal percentage than Wofford did this year:
Nebraska - 39.8 percent
Coppin State - 37.0 percent
UMass-Lowell - 32.7 percent
The Terriers finished the game 18-of-53 from the field (34.0 percent) and a terrible 1-of-19 from three-point range (5.3 percent).
Player Of The Game: Sophomore Glenn Robinson III
Wofford was bound and determined to slow the game down and limit possessions as much as possible.
And, on the flipside, Robinson was focused on making every possession count for the Wolverines.
Robinson got his mid-range jumper going and corralled three offensive rebounds - seven total rebounds - to be a consistent offensive threat throughout the game.
He finished 6-of-14 from the field for 14 points and seven boards, adding an assist and a steal. Although he was a bit off on his three-point shot - 1-of-4 from long range - Robinson's offensive diversity kept Wofford on its toes all game.
"I definitely wanted Glenn to shoot in those situations," Michigan coach John Beilein said after the game. "You expect that when you look at just percentages of what they may do, but they don't see Glenn in practice every day, and that's what we want - Glenn to shoot those when they leave him that open. It's the only way we want him to play, and I was really happy with his with his first half. That's how we got out in front."
Quote Of The Game:
Fifth-year senior forward Jordan Morgan: "We know we're pretty efficient offensively and most times we don't have very much trouble scoring the basketball from different people and different games. So, we know we're only going to go as far as our defense carries us, and we never know which game is really going to be our last. We just want to play every game defensively as best we can."
Tweet Of The Game:
After the dub! Clownin with @CampSanderson and @markdonnal 😁🏀〽️ pic.twitter.com/lL7S67tXzM- Mitch McGary (@MitchMcGary4) March 21, 2014
Round Of 32: Michigan 79, Texas 65
Stat Of The Game: 14-of-28 from three point range.
Michigan set a new program Tournament record, hitting an impressive 14 shots from behind the arc. And plenty of shooters got in on the action. Sophomore sharpshooter Nik Stauskas hit 4-of-9 attempts; sophomore Caris LeVert was 3-of-6 from downtown; Robinson was 2-of-3; freshman point guard Derrick Walton, Jr. and freshman guard Zak Irvin each hit 2-of-4 attempts; and sophomore point guard Spike Albrecht was 1-of-2.
Of course, the Wolverines always shoot a lot of three-pointers, but not quite like they did against the Longhorns. Michigan attempted more long balls than it did vs. Texas in just four games this season: 8-of-29 in a loss at Iowa State; 14-of-30 in a win vs. Long Beach State; 13-of-31 in a win vs. Nebraska; and 10-of-30 in a win over Illinois in the Big Ten Tournament.
Really, the Wolverines went into the game knowing the three-pointer would be there if they wanted to take it, from the scouting report.
Texas ranks No. 235 nationally in opponent three-point shooting percentage (35.4 percent), and those numbers are bolstered by the fact that teams have shot a lot against the Longhorns this year. Opponents shot, on average, 20.9 three-point attempts per game against Texas this year, which ranks No. 314 nationally.
Michigan just took advantage of a hole in the Texas defense - and rode it into the Sweet 16.
Player Of The Game: Jordan Morgan
As good as the Wolverines were from behind the arc, it may not have mattered if Morgan didn't contain the Longhorns' intense interior presence.
As it turns out, Morgan put together one of the best performances of his career, finishing 4-of-7 from the field, with 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was the seventh double-double of Morgan's career and his second in as many games this NCAA Tournament (he had 10 points and 10 boards vs. Wofford).
For whatever reason, Michigan's big men really show up to play in the NCAA Tournament. Morgan became the first Michigan player to have back-to-back double-double performances since Mitch McGary did so in last year's Big Dance, when he accomplished the feat against Virginia Commonwealth and Kansas.
Morgan is playing at a new level in the last few weeks. He recorded his first double-double of the year in the regular-season finale vs. Indiana and has three in the last six games.
Quote Of The Game:
Michigan coach John Beilein: "I'm really proud of [making two straight Sweet 16s]. We've had a lot of help. It's not just our coaching staff and the team. We've had great help from the university, from the president all the way down. We've had great support from our athletic administration, Dave Brandon, et cetera. When we came to Michigan, this is what I envisioned it could be."
Tweet Of The Game:
Thx to Mich fans for the support this week! Sweet 16 and on to Indy.Thinking about getting a nice Sub tonight. It could get crazy! Go Blue!- John Beilein (@JohnBeilein) March 23, 2014
A Look Ahead
Tennessee may be the scariest No. 11 seed this tournament has seen in a long time.
A month ago, the Volunteers found themselves 16-11 overall, 7-7 in SEC play and most likely out of NCAA Tournament consideration.
Something woke these guys up, though. Since then, Tennessee is 8-1, with the lone loss coming against No. 1 Florida in the SEC Tournament title game. The Volunteers have been very impressive in the NCAA Tournament, beating Iowa, 78-65, in the First Four, upsetting No. 6 seeding Massachusetts, 86-67, and cruising past potential Cinderella Mercer, 83-63.
Kenpom.com loves Tennessee. In the website's latest ratings, the Volunteers are No. 6 nationally.
The only other double-digit seed in Pomeroy's Top 30 is Iowa (No. 28). Michigan is No. 10.
The Volunteers rank No. 19 in adjusted offensive efficiency (114.8) and No. 15 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency (93.6).
And, like Texas, Tennessee is going to be a force on the boards. Tennessee rebounds 38.6 percent of its own misses on the offensive glass, which ranks No. 5 nationally. The Longhorns, who rebound 39.1 percent of their own missed shots, collected 21 offensive rebounds on 39 misses (53.8 percent).
Tennessee isn't great at defending the three-point shot, ranking No. 130 nationally in opponent three-point shooting (33.7 percent), so expect the Wolverines to let it fly again.