Michigan basketball did what good teams should do by knocking off the 13th seeded South Dakota State Jackrabbits by a final score of 71-56. The Wolverines shot 28-56 from the field and 9-20 from long range. Meanwhile, SDSU shot just 4-19 from three point range and never really threatened to pull the upset.
How They Won
On a day when Trey Burke had his lowest offensive output of the season, Michigan was powered by Mitch McGary, Glenn Robinson III, and Tim Hardaway, Jr. The Wolverines entered halftime with a slim 30-26 lead but played with efficiency and confidence in the 2nd half. The most notable performance came from Robinson who was shooting the ball like he was early in the season.
Robinson was a stellar 8-9 from the field (3-3 from deep) on his way to 21 points in a nice breakout game for him. Hardaway and McGary held down the fort in the 1st half to make sure Michigan didn’t get off to yet another slow start.
The game was billed as a battle of two elite point guards but it was Burke’s supporting cast that carried the day. Nate Wolters and Burke combined to shoot 5-25 from the floor and 0-10 from distance. Wolters finished with 10 points, 5 boards, and 6 assists while Burke had a season-low 6 points but did hand out 7 assists and blocked 2 shots. It was the first time all season long that Burke failed to score in double figures.
Outscoring the Jackrabbits 41-30 in the 2nd half was a breath of fresh air for Michigan fans who were desperately searching for signs of life from this team. Michigan has had trouble pulling away from teams and exerting their style of play on the opponent for much of the season’s 2nd half. Despite the quality of tonight’s opponent, the indicators were positive.
The likely round of 32 matchup against VCU will be of the marquee variety if the Rams take care of business tonight.
Michigan’s 3 Stars
1. Glenn Robinson III – Robinson shot the ball with more confidence than he did at any point during the Big Ten season. Perhaps getting this team away from the grind of Big Ten play will serve them well. The 21 points tied a career-high. He also added 6 boards and was 2-2 from the free throw line, which was also a sight for sore eyes.
2. Tim Hardaway, Jr. – Four straight threes by Hardaway in the 1st half really kept Michigan afloat. He finished the night tying Robinson with a game-high 21 points. He was 8-13 from the floor and 5-7 from long range. A hot TH2 in this tournament changes everything for Michigan and reignites visions of a deep tournament run.
3. Mitch McGary – McGary got the start and came out playing with his usual hustle and tenacity. He ended his night with 13 points and 9 boards, tying SDSU’s Jordan Dykstra for the game-high.
News and Notes
- Take away Burke’s shooting effort and Michigan was 26-44 from the field (59%) and 9-15 from deep (60%). These are good signs for Michigan. If the supporting cast can rise to the occasion then good things are in store for this team.
- Despite a horrible shooting night from SDSU via 3-point range, they still managed to shoot 19-33 from 2-point range (58%). Stauskas, Robinson, and McGary were consistently getting beat on the defensive end. As the competition heats up so will the importance of these guys turning it up on defense. Watch this closely going forward.
- Michigan did grab 6 steals and blocked 3 shots to just 3 and 0 respectively for SDSU.
- Jordan Morgan can now be considered the former starting center for Michigan. He has clearly been replaced in the rotation by McGary and Jon Horford. Morgan’s confidence has sagged late in the season but with the potential of playing against an athletic VCU team his services might be called upon more than they were tonight. John Beilein’s postgame take on that situation: “I think it’s obvious what Mitch can bring to us, but don’t count Morgan out.”
Michigan will play the winner of the VCU-Akron game on Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
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