With a chance to score a ticket to the Sweet 16 for the fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament, the Michigan men’s basketball team defeated No. 3 seed Tennessee, 76-68.
The Wolverines trailed by as much as six with eight minutes remaining, but a 14-4 run put them ahead and forced the Volunteers into a timeout. Fifth-year student Eli Brooks played a big role down the stretch, while Hunter Dickinson had a game-high 27 points to go with 11 rebounds.
The Maize and Blue Review breaks down three takeaways from Michigan’s victory:
Improved 3-point shooting in the first half opens offensive doors
After missing a 3-pointer in the first half against Colorado State, the Wolverines hit a pair of 3-pointers in the first minute on Saturday.
Michigan knocked down four of its nine shots from beyond the arc in the first half. The expanded range stretched Tennessee’s defense, creating more room for Michigan’s big men to work around the rim. Hunter Dickinson went 3-for-5 from deep and had 27 points, propelling the Wolverines to victory.
Turnovers hurt Wolverines despite increased awareness
Going into Saturday, Michigan knew exactly what they would be up against in the half-court set. The Volunteers are among one of the toughest ball-pressing teams in the NCAA Tournament, forcing an average of 15.9 turnovers and 9.4 steals per game. The latter mark is good for third-best among all Power Five teams, but the Wolverines’ Tennessee movie studio offered plenty of warning.
“They definitely make a lot of turnovers, but we can’t give them extra possessions and we can’t get out of the situation without shooting,” Terrance Williams said Friday.
Still, Michigan fell victim to ball pressure from the Volunteers. The Wolverines committed nine turnovers in the first half and 15 total during the game, leading to 20 Tennessee fast-break points. The Volunteers, on the other hand, finished with just seven turnovers.
Michigan’s turnovers led to sudden changes, and their gifts of live ball quickly swung the pendulum in favor of Tennessee.
Frankie Collins impresses again in relief of DeVante’ Jones
After missing Thursday’s game with a concussion, DeVante’ Jones rejoined the Wolverines’ starting lineup in the round of 32.
The return was short lived.
Jones suffered an injury after colliding with Moussa Diabate just minutes into Saturday’s game, forcing him to visit the locker room and sit on the bench for an extended period. He eventually returned to the game in the first half, but was ruled out for the second half due to illness, according to the CBS broadcast.
Instead, freshman guard Frankie Collins built on his solid round of 64 appearances. After totaling 14 points and six rebounds against Colorado State on Thursday, Collins provided a constant presence and displayed exceptional poise. He was a plus-3 in Jones’ absence in the first half, while Jones finished the first half a minus-9.
Although his freshman season is over, Collins’ performance at the NCAA Tournament offered a glimpse of his bright future in Ann Arbor.
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