The fourth-seeded Michigan Wolverines would not be denied on Saturday afternoon in Auburn Hills, blowing out fifth-seeded VCU 78-53 in the 2013 NCAA tournament's round of 32 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in nearly two decades.
Michigan established a fast tempo, gained an early lead and was essentially able to keep VCU in check from start to finish.
Michigan, fueled by a sea of supporters (via Darren Rovell), jumped out to an early first-half lead and never looked back, going on a 20-6 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half to take a comfortable 38-23 lead into the locker room:
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell
Picture of crowd at tipoff of Michigan-VCU located an hour from Michigan's campus http://t.co/R10pGVrqwc2013-3-23 16:26:08
Associated Press writer Larry Lage hit the nail on the head with this shoutout to Michigan freshman forward Mitch McGary, who came up huge for the Wolverines on Saturday:
Ray Thomas @Soldiersinfo
Loving this Michigan VCU game...Mitch McGary is balling out2013-3-23 16:50:08
Kevin Gehl @KevinGehlSuns
Bone-crushing pick by McGary! Whole arena could feel it. #Michigan leads by 15 and this game is slipping away for #VCU before half...2013-3-23 17:02:22
McGary finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds to lead Michigan.
Michigan's guards were also huge in the first half, as Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III combined to score 30 of the Wolverines' 38 first-half points. All three were great against VCU's vaunted press as well, as pointed out by Kris Harlow:
Kris Harlow @33Harlow
Michigan's guards are picking apart this VCU press.2013-3-23 16:35:54
Meanwhile, only two of VCU's starters scored in the first half, and the Rams were plagued by 30-percent shooting from the floor (via ESPN Stats & Info):
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
VCU shot 30 percent overall and 1-8 on 3-pointers in the first half vs Michigan. Here's VCU's 1st half shot chart: http://t.co/5C2dIOmhS22013-3-23 17:15:01
After an early push from VCU to start the second half, Michigan shut the door on Shaka Smart's Rams. The Wolverines dominated the rest of the way, scoring easy baskets and igniting the pro-Wolverines crowd at Auburn Hills with thunderous dunks.
Kenny Roda @TheKennyRoda
The Big Ten is now (7-1) after Michigan just destroyed VCU! Next up for the Wolverines the winner of Kansas & North Carolina in the Sweet 162013-3-23 18:06:15
In the end, John Beilein's squad would shoot 52 percent from the field and out-rebound VCU 36-21, winning in blowout fashion to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1994.
Michigan's victory extends the Big Ten's impressive streak in the tournament (via ESPN 850's Kenny Roda):
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