Michigan made Havoc look helpless. Now Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the rest of the cool-headed Wolverines are part of the school's...
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Michigan made Havoc look helpless.
Now Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and the rest of the cool-headed Wolverines are part of the school’s longest NCAA tournament run in nearly two decades.
Mitch McGary had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and fourth-seeded Michigan breezed through Virginia Commonwealth’s vaunted pressure with a clinical performance Saturday, beating the fifth-seeded Rams 78-53 to advance to the regional semifinals for the first time since 1994. VCU couldn’t create many easy baskets with its press, even though the Wolverines didn’t have much time to prepare for it.
“This is a very high-IQ team that can pick up things very quickly,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “Everybody that played in the game, even the guys that did not play, just responded beautifully in the way we want Michigan to respond in these situations.”
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McGary, a 6-foot-10 freshman, set season highs in scoring and rebounding. VCU had no answer for him around the basket, and that pressure defense — the Rams call it “Havoc” — wasn’t much of a factor.
VCU was relentless in a 46-point rout of Akron on Thursday night, but the Rams met their match against Michigan’s backcourt. Burke and Hardaway rarely looked rattled, and Michigan (28-7) committed only 12 turnovers.
The 71-point swing by VCU — from a 46-point win to a 25-point loss — was the largest in NCAA tournament history, according to STATS. In 1968, Houston beat Texas Christian 103-68 to reach the Final Four, then lost to UCLA 101-69 for a 67-point swing.
VCU (27-9) went 0-8 this season when forcing under 15 turnovers.
“Certainly in retrospect it wasn’t a very good matchup,” Rams coach Shaka Smart said. “The credit for that goes to Michigan. I don’t think that we, for whatever reason, had great bounce today and energy.”