In what appears to be the most intriguing game of the 3rd round thus far, we have a matchup of two dynamic teams in Michigan vs. VCU. Michigan suffered a big scare early on in their second round matchup with South Dakota State as star guard Trey Burke took a tumble onto the floor and had to be taken out of the game. Luckily for Wolverine fans he returned to the court quickly. Burke had a rough night scoring only 6 points between his injury and the suffocating defense of South Dakota State star Nate Wolters. However Michigan is far from a one-man team and Burke had teammates who were more than capable of picking up the slack. Glen Robinson III had 21 points and was consistent throughout. Mitch McGary had 13 points and 9 rebounds to help lead his team into the third round. Michigan’s depth proved to be a factor as they were able to withstand the efforts of a valiant South Dakota State team that clearly got fatigued towards the end.
VCU had a much easier time in its 2nd round matchup with a depleted Akron team that was playing without suspended point guard Alex Abreu and injured guard Deji Ibitayo all while 2 others players played with the flu. VCU showed their trademark pressure early on and suffocated Akron into 2 ten-second violations and from there the rest of the contest was almost a formality. Troy Daniels had had 23 points and Juvonte Reddic had 21. They forced 22 turnovers while setting a margin of defeat record for by a team seeded third or lower in this 46 point demolishing.
This sets the stage for what is sure to be a highly entertaining game between Michigan and VCU. Michigan has been one of the best teams in the country all season long. They were number one in the country before the rigors of the Big Ten caught up to them. Coach John Beilein’s team plays faster than teams he has coached in the past but nothing close to the speed at which Coach Shaka Smart’s teams play. VCU is going to have some form of a press applied for the full 40 minutes regardless of the scoreboard. If Burke has another off night it will be very difficult for Michigan to come away with a victory. Michigan has better guards than VCU if you match them up, however the matchups wont matter if Michigan cannot handle the relentless pressure that awaits them on Saturday afternoon. If Michigan get break the press and get it into more of a half court game then they will have a big advantage with their strong half court offense led by the freshman frontcourt of McGary, Robinson III and Nik Stauskas. Both coaches have different styles and are masters of their craft making this a fascinating matchup.
It will be a fantastic game filled with plenty of highlights. In the end the relentless pressure of underdog VCU will be enough to make them the play.
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