Auburn Hills, MI (1660 The Fan) – Michigan became the first team to punch its ticket to the Sweet 16 after cruising past VCU 78-53 on Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines only trailed once at 2-0, and dominated the Rams from start to finish in most part from the newest member to its starting five.
Making just his fourth start of the season but his second in the NCAA Tournament, freshman Mitch McGary had easily the best game of his young collegiate career, scoring a game and career high 21 on 10 of 11 shooting while grabbing 14 boards and providing what seemed to be endless energy for the Wolverines. McGary got the starting nod over Jordan Morgan, who has been struggling of late since returning to the lineup after missing some time with an ankle injury.
In Michigan’s opening game of the NCAA Tournament, McGary scored 13 with nine rebounds against South Dakota State. Against VCU, the big man had almost those same numbers by halftime, which Michigan led 38-23, with all 38 points coming from the starting five.
While McGary was huge against the Rams, Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke was able to bounce back after his worst game of the season. Burke tallied 18 points on 6-14 shooting, much improved from 2-12 and 0-5 from downtown against SDSU. Burke also dished out seven assists.
VCU’s offense was held to its second lowest point total of the season, far off from the 88 points they put up against Akron in their opening round matchup. The Rams were only 3-16 from behind the arc and were outrebounded by Michigan 36-21 while committing twice as many fouls (14-7).
Michigan is now on to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1994. The Wolverines will play the winner of Kansas/North Carolina.
Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III scored 14 each.