2013 NCAA Tournament: Michigan Wolverines Dominate Thanks to Their Big Four

By Phil Clark
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

On Thursday, I wrote about how the Michigan Wolverines needed big performances out of three members of their starting line-up due to Trey Burke having an off night. Those three men were Tim Hardaway Jr., Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary.

The Wolverines got such performances and won. Today, in their 78-53 domination of the Virginia Commenwealth Rams, the Wolverines got big games out of all four men.

Burke played like his old self, scoring 18 points with seven assists and was perfect from the free-throw line. He did have seven turnovers in the game as well — troubling for sure, but it wasn’t disastrous today. Hardaway Jr. contributed with 14 points, as did Robinson III, who made the additional contribution of nine rebounds.

Without a doubt, the player of this game was McGary. Topping his big game Thursday night, McGary scored a team-high 21 points on 10/11 shooting and pulled down 14 rebounds.

The Wolverines shot nearly 50 percent from the floor in the first half as a team to help build their 15-point halftime lead. Burke and McGary’s play helped the Wolverines seize momentum early and keep it through the rest of the game.

That momentum was solidified in the early minutes in the second half thanks to two particular instances of long passes turning into dunks. While this isn’t a rare occurrence in college basketball, the fact that it came early in the second half of a game the Wolverines were starting to run away with helped suck the air out of the Rams quickly.

Other examples of the Wolverines’ overall dominance was the massive difference between the two teams in shooting and rebounding. The Wolverines ended up shooting 52 percent as a team while the Rams only shot 40 percent from the floor. On the boards, the gap was just as wide as the Wolverines out-rebounded the Rams 36-21.

Another big factor in the Wolverines running away with this game was the lack of production from Troy Daniels. Daniels is the big 3-point shooter for the Rams, but only made one 3-point shot and scored only seven points in today’s loss.

Even though it’s always a team effort in team sports, this was a four-man show for the Wolverines today, and that four-man show looks just as good as any team in the country at the moment.

A meeting with either the Kansas Jayhawks or North Carolina Tar Heels awaits the Wolverines in the Sweet 16. It will be a step up in competition from what the Wolverines have already faced in the tournament, but they appear ready for the challenge.

Phil Clark is a writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook. Or check out his blog.

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