The Sweet 16 for the 2019 NCAA Tournament tipped off on Thursday night and two Big Ten teams were in action. Purdue faced off against Tennessee in Louisville and Michigan tried to hold off Texas Tech in California.
Let’s take a look at what happened.
Game of the Day:
-No. 3 Purdue Boilermakers 99, Tennessee Volunteers 94 (OT)
What a phenomenal game. In arguably the most exciting game of the Tournament to date, Purdue battled a Tennessee team desperately to live up to its early season expectations. The game had numerous twists and turns, leaving fans on the edges of their seats.
Early on, Purdue came racing out of the gates. Ryan Cline got off to a fast start and Carsen Edwards helped as well. Tennessee had no answers throughout the first half. However, the Boilermakers let an 18-point lead evaporate in the second half and the Volunteers came roaring back thanks to Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams. The game ended up going into overtime after Edwards was fouled in the closing seconds.
In overtime, Purdue got just enough from Edwards to hold off Tennessee and grab a massive win on Thursday night. It’s the program’s first trip to the Elite Eight since 2000 and only its second since 1994. After an extended run of missteps in March, Purdue finally has a chance to make it back to the Final Four for the first time since 1980 on Saturday night.
With the win, Purdue will now face Virginia for a shot at advancing to the Final Four. The Cavaliers are a fantastic squad and a one seed for a reason. Purdue’s got its work cut out if it’s going to make it past this weekend.
-No. 3 Texas Tech Red Raiders 63, No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 44
Heading into Thursday, this game projected to be a pretty low-scoring affair. Michigan and Texas Tech had two of the best defenses nationally and most figured they would be in a stalemate all night.
But even with that said, I’m not sure anybody expected what happened.
The two teams combined for just 107 points on the evening and the vast majority of those points came in the second half. The Wolverines had just 16 first half points and . . . trailed by eight at the break. It was just that kind of game.
Unfortunately for Wolverine fans, Michigan just could never figure it out offensively. The Wolverines finished the evening going 1-for-19 from three-point range and the only make came in garbage time from a reserve. All told, Michigan fell by a 63-44 margin in a really ugly performance for the team.
Despite the loss, Michigan still has a pretty impressive season. The Wolverines finished with a 30-7 overall record and made the team’s third straight trip to the Sweet 16. John Beilein and his staff will now have to go back to the drawing board and hope to finish stronger next season. The only significant offseason departure projected at the moment for Michigan is Charles Matthews.