Matthews leads No. 2-seed Michigan past Montana

AP Photo/Nati Harnik

Charles Matthews scored 16 of his 22 points in the first half and Zavier Simpson chipped in with 10 assists and seven boards as No. 2-seed Michigan had an easier time with Montana this year than they did a season ago.

The Wolverines knocked off the Grizzlies, 74-55, on Thursday night, cruising to an easy win just a year after they struggled to put away this same Montana team in one of the ugliest games of the first round of the tournament.

There is not all that much that we can take away from this game beyond the simple fact that Matthews played one of the best games of his season. He is the difference-maker for Michigan. It’s not a secret that the issue this team has is on the offensive side of the ball. They don’t have all that much shooting, and in turn, they don’t really have much in the way of floor-spacing.

That lack of floor-spacing has been one of the reasons that Matthews has not been as effective this season as he was last season, as has the fact that this year’s roster makeup allows more wings to be matched up with him. Last year, he was able to play small-ball four. This year, Ignas Brazdeikis owns that role.

We’ll see if this last. He’s going to have his work cut out for him against a No. 10-seed Florida team that shut down Caleb Martin and Jordan Caroline in the first round.

But anyone can get hot for three weeks, and that’s all Michigan needs him to do.