Michigan Basketball: Wolverine Alums Strike Up Some Havoc of Their Own
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Nearly 90 minutes before tipoff, the sport's bar on Richmond's W. Broad St. was already filling up.
Barely a mile from VCU's campus, Rams' fans (in their snazzy gold and black attire) occupied all but a few tables.
Those were reserved for the Michigan supporters, who staked out their corner with a huge 'M' flag.
While the Big Dance is no stranger to either team, VCU had its best tournament run two years ago, when it upset Georgetown and Kansas before bowing to Butler in the national semifinal.
Shaka Smart grabbed the VCU coaching reins in 2009 before inserting havoc, a defensive style of play which features a tenacious full-court press.
As the many "Fear the Havoc" t-shirts proclaimed, VCU's quickness was supposed to disrupt Michigan's offense before it reached mid-court.
VCU fans sang, chanted and cheered their Rams. While it's usually saved for an endgame celebration, VCU serenaded Michigan fans with "Hey Hey Hey Goodbye," before the first television timeout. Michigan countered with its "Let's Go Blue" chant and the new "Uno dos tres Burke" cheer.
Nevertheless, Michigan couldn't quite keep up with its VCU counterparts until the play on the court changed the tune.
Whether it was Tim Hardaway Jr., Trey Burke or super-sub Spike Albrecht, Michigan was able to beat the press with enough regularity to build a 15-point halftime lead.
A former residential college student tried to chime in with an innovative "Goodbye Havoc" chorus, but there was still 20 minutes of basketball still to be played.
A mini VCU run early in the second half failed to slow Michigan's momentum, and the Wolverines pulled away for a 78-53 victory and a trip to the NCAA's Sweet 16.
''Certainly in retrospect it wasn't a very good matchup,'' Coach Smart told foxsports.com. ''The credit for that goes to Michigan."
"(Freshman center) McGary was a monster," one Wolverine fan shouted on the way out the door. And so he was.
With 21 points (on 10-of-11 shooting) and with 14 rebounds, Michigan may be getting the inside presence necessary to make a long tournament run.
The few VCU fans present at the end could hardly disagree.
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