2011 NCAA Tournament: Previewing the Michigan Vs. Tennessee Matchup
Ladies and gentlemen, March Madness has officially arrived; and after the first full-day of action, we can safely say that nothing is guaranteed.
Be that as it may, we cannot shy away from constant positional breakdowns and analysis, and today will be no different.
So as the Michigan Wolverines (8) and the Tennessee Volunteers (9) get ready for battle, let's take a look at what each team has to offer from a positional perspective.
The Wolverines managed to sneak into the field of 68 mostly due to consistent performances from Darius Morris and Tim Hardaway Jr., and they won't shy away from getting the ball to the both of them against Bruce Pearl's active squad.
Over the course of the regular season, Michigan shot 44 percent from the field and managed 66.1 points per game. Obviously not the most impressive statistics in the world, however they have proved they are capable of getting the job done when the going get tough. Nevertheless, they'll need a big game out of Darius Morris offensively to get past Tennessee.
Led by the prolific, often inconsistent scoring of Scotty Hopson, Tennessee managed to make the field as a nine seed with a bit of uncertainty beside them. Bruce Pearl successfully served his suspension and is back with the Volunteers who aren't quite the same team without his presence roaming the sidelines.
Tennessee managed 70.6 points per game over the course of the regular season along with hitting 43 percent of their field-goals -- good enough to be 186th in the country.
If the Volunteers plan on making the third round of action, they'll need a big game out of both Scotty Hopson and Tobias Harris offensively.
In the Wolverine's resurgence back to respectability in this 2010-2011 season, they've managed to hold their opponents in check in their defensive schemes, which ultimitely led to securing fourth-place in the Big Ten regular season.
When Tennessee brings the heat with Scotty Hopson, Zack Novak must be able to rebound for Michigan the way he has this season; averaging 5.7 rebounds per game.
A 19-14 overall record isn't impressive to say the least, but Tennessee has been able to rebound the ball effectively in critical situations. If a victory is in store for the Volunteers, they'll have to perform up to their 38.0 rebounds per game average.
Since his hiring back in 2007, John Beilein hasn't been able to take the Wolverines to any respectable heights. And if experience has anything do to with success in the tournament, then Michigan could be in for a blowout against Tennessee.
Bruce Pearl maintains the reputation as one of the most successful and highly sought-after coaches in the country over the past decade, and the experience factor alone gives Tennessee the advantage over Michigan.
After carefully picking apart the positional battles between these two improving squads, we can now say that Michigan will advance to the third round of action.
Yes; despite Tennessee maintaining the clear advantage at every positional matchup, the Michigan Wolverines will pull off just another tournament surprise with a victory over Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers.
If Zack Novak can effectively rebound on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court with Darius Morris taking manageable shots, Michigan should take this game in stunning fashion.
Prediction: Michigan 64, Tennessee 61