The game between Michigan and Tennessee started off like any normal game between an eight and a nine seed. It was bound to be interesting all game long with the high-paced offense and the constant back-and-forth battle between the two. But, then, only one team came out of the locker room to begin the second half. The Michigan Wolverines sprinted out of the gate with a 19-2 run to start the second half.
It ended up being ugly, with Michigan outscoring Tennessee 42-16 in second half. The Wolverines were well balanced in scoring as five players finished in double figures. The final score was 75-45. It was one of the most lopsided affairs between an eight and nine seed in the history of the tournament.
It was a 19-2 run to begin the second half that led Michigan to the blowout victory. Zack Novak had 14 points and added 10 rebounds to lead the way for the team from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Tennessee had more turnovers than points in the first seven minutes of the second half.
Tobias Harris of Tennessee owned the interior in the first half. He started off with the first eight points for the team. The freshman had 19 points and didn’t miss a basket, including going seven for seven from the free-throw line. He ended up not making a shot in the second half.
Michigan was uncharacteristic in the game plan they carried out on Friday. The Wolverines are normally a high three-point shooting team that lives and dies by those shots. Instead, Michigan pounded the ball into the paint and was widely successful against a Tennessee team that doesn’t have much size on the interior.
Points in the paint were the stat of the game for Michigan as they scored almost 50 points there. Also, Michigan owned the glass with 11 offensive rebounds.
A 10-0 run in the first half kept Michigan in the game and the bench for Michigan was reliable in that half as players like Jordan Morgan and Tim Hardaway Jr. sat out for most of it because of foul trouble. Matt Vogrich came off the bench and scored 11 points in 16 minutes of play.
A team full of controversy all season long in Tennessee lost hope midway through the game and never came back from the huge deficit that Michigan created. The Volunteers were distracted this season because of drama with head coach Bruce Pearl. It was known that he had a barbeque with recruits at his home, which is something that cannot be done. There’s no reason to give up on Pearl as a coach. He already has the same amount of tournament wins with Tennessee that the program had before Pearl became head coach.
Most likely, Michigan will take on Duke on Sunday. Duke, the number one seed in the West Region, has been one of the most consistent teams all season. The Blue Devils are led by seniors Nolan Smith and Kyle Singler.