Michigan was on the verge of missing the NCAA Tournament last week. Now the Wolverines are heading to the Sweet 16.
Hunter Dickinson waved on the Indianapolis crowd in jubilation. The 7-footer led the way for Michigan with 27 points and Tennessee went completely cold down the stretch as the No. 11 seeded Wolverines ousted the heavily favored Volunteers 76-68 on Saturday in a second round game.
Tennessee had entered March Madness as one of the hottest teams, having just won the SEC tournament and looking dominant in a first-round win over Longwood. They had won 13 of 14 entering Saturday’s contest. But the Vols had no answer for Michigan’s late surge in the final minutes and shot poorly from beyond the arc all game – finishing 2-for-17 (11%) from three-point range.
Michigan, meanwhile, pulled off a first-round upset of No. 6 Colorado State and carried over that momentum into the second round. The Wolverines won with one of its best players Devante’ Jones, having to watch from the locker room due to recovery from concussion protoc
That paved the way for veteran guard Eli Brooks (23 points) to take over, putting Michigan ahead for good with a three-point play and delivering four critical points in the final minute.
Coach Juwan Howard’s team was considered to be one of the “last four teams” in the field of 68 as an at-large bid and many pundits were surprised to see the Wolverines not in a play-in game. They’ve undoubtedly benefited from their side of the bracket in the South Region.
Howard was seen consoling Tennessee freshman star Kennedy Chandler, who led Tennessee with 19 points in the loss, after the game for a powerful moment of sportsmanship. It was a strong contrast from the actions that cost Howard a five-game regular season suspension for a physical confrontation with Wisconsin’s coaching staff back in February.