After Saint Louis and Louisville both struggled offensively on Saturday afternoon, Michigan, the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, put on an offensive clinic in the first half against No. 7 Texas, en route to a 79-65 win, advancing to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive season.
In the first half, Michigan took more threes and twos, on fire from beyond the arc with 8-of-15 shooting. Nik Stauskas (17 points, eight assists) was able to get some open looks in both the halfcourt set as well as on the break. Besides the hot 3-point shooting, the Wolverines were strong defensively. They continually held the Longhorns to only one shot, and kept them away off the free throw line. In the first half, Michigan committed just three fouls, resulting in four free throws for Texas.
That gave Michigan a 43-30 lead entering the break.
A young Texas team gained some confidence offensively in the second half, grabbing offensive rebounds (15), getting to the line (11-of-12), and threatening on several occasions. But Michigan would continue to respond with the 3-ball.
Isaiah Taylor (22 points, five assists) capped off an 8-0 Texas run cut the lead to 10, 53-43. Following a Michigan timeout, Stauskas canned a three. Four minutes later, Texas again got it to eight before Glenn Robinson III (14 points) stroked a trey from the wing. A minute later, the Longhorns got it to single digits again. This time Spike Albrecht was the one to come up with a triple. Caris LeVert (14 points) hit the dagger, a three with just over 2:30 left. That gave Michigan an 11-point lead, part of an 8-0 run.
Michigan is back in the Sweet 16, awaiting the winner No. 14 Mercer and No. 11 Tennessee. We’ve seen how dangerous the Bears are and that the Volunteers are playing very well as of late, but the Wolverines have been in-sync offensively.
In two tournament games, they are shooting 21-for-45 from deep, and have had great patience on the offensive end.
Michigan’s Sweet 16 game against Mercer/Tennessee will on Friday.