Michigan takes on VCU in 2nd game of NCAA Tournament
No. 4 Wolverines meet No. 5 Rams at Palace of Auburn Hills
Fourth-seeded Michigan meets No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday in an NCAA Tournament third-round game at Auburn Hills, Mich., that features two up-tempo, guard-oriented teams.
The Wolverines contained Nate Wolters and South Dakota State in their second-round matchup 71-56.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III scored 21 points apiece for Michigan, which shot 51 percent and 9-for-20 from downtown. Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke managed a season-low six points on 2-of-12 shooting, but will have a chance to redeem himself if the Wolverines can outwork the Rams' “havoc” defense.
VCU rattled Akron in its second-round matchup, forcing 21 turnovers and holding the Zips to 34.9 percent shooting and 1-of-13 from long range en route to an 88-42 rout. Coach Shaka Smart’s pressure defense places them first in the nation in turnover margin at plus-8.2.
The Rams, who became the first No. 11 seed in tournament history to reach the Final Four two years ago, are also 11th in the nation in scoring at 78 points.
TV: 12:15 p.m. ET, CBS
ABOUT MICHIGAN (27-7): Burke leads the Wolverines in scoring (18.8) and assists (6.7). He and Hardaway (14.8 points) help Michigan match up well with VCU. That strong guard play - the duo averages only four turnovers combined - matches up well against the Rams’ pressure.
Also in the Wolverines’ favor is the location of the game, a little more than 50 miles from campus. The Wolverines, who were 17-1 at home this season, haven’t made the Sweet 16 since 1994.
ABOUT VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH (27-8): Treveon Graham leads four Rams players who average double figures with 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds. Juvonte Reddic (14.6) poured in 21 points against Akron while Troy Daniels (12.4) led VCU with 23 points on 6-of-11 shooting from beyond the arc.
Rob Brandenberg scores 10.5 points for the Rams, who also lead the nation in steals at 11.8. The Rams have forced 21.7 turnovers in victories this season, but only 14 in losses.
1. Auburn Hills is the closest to campus Michigan has ever played in the NCAA Tournament.
2. Before the last game, Burke had scored in double figures in every game this year and at least 18 in each of his previous 10.
3. After reaching the Final Four in 2011, VCU knocked off No. 5 Wichita State 62-59 as a No. 12 seed last year before pushing No. 4 Indiana in a 63-61 loss.