The lopsided score indicates otherwise, but this game was decided at the 15:22 mark of the second half with Michigan up 12. Mitch McGary, enjoying a breakout, fairytale tournament, made an impressive drive from the top of key for a tough layup. Backup point guard Spike Albrecht intercepted the ensuing inbound and completed a difficult up and under to increase to the lead to 16 in a span of four seconds. Game over.
The lead was built on the back of Mississauga native Nik Stauskas, who dropped five three pointers in the first half alone and finished the game with 22 points. McGary did his part too, adding 11 points and nine rebounds in a 79-59 rout for the Wolverines.
Michigan’s freshmen were the story heading into the tournament. And while Glenn Robinson and Stauskas have had their moments, McGary has been immense for John Belein. Trey Burke, battling flu like symptoms, still managed to contribute 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists along with three steals.
Tim Hardaway Jr. had rough outing. Correction: he couldn’t hit anything. Hardaway shot 23% from the field, something he can’t afford to repeat when Michigan goes up against Syracuse’s vaunted zone defence on Saturday.
Billy Donovan’s team was unable to find a rhythm. Erik Murphy continued to struggle. The senior followed up a two for seven shooting performance against FGCU with a horrific 0 for 11 day. Combined, the Gators shot 20% from three point land, falling way below their season average.
Michigan heads back to the final four for the first time since 1993. The accomplishments of the fab five, accomplishments that the administration had tried to wipe away, now have company. Though they may not have the name recognition of Webber, Howard and Rose, Trey Burke and company have a chance to rewrite a wrong in Atlanta.