MI heads to Sweet 16 at Louisville's expense

19 March, 2017, 21:01 | Author: Oscar Goodwin
  • Head coach Ray Harper of the Jacksonville State

The Wolverines held off Oklahoma State with a thrilling 92-91 win. They also need solid contributions from Zak Irvin, D.J. Wilson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman.

MI is shooting 63% in the 2nd half!

"Synergy [computer programs] and all these things have had a huge influence on people finding new ways to win besides the three-out, two-in game that we saw in the '70s", he said. One of the reasons the Wolverines may not have been clicking early was Moe Wagner picking up two quick fouls and sitting out for most of the first half.

The 1986-87 season was the first in which the three-point shot was used in the NCAAs, and Pitino was among the first coaches to grasp how useful it could be.

The No. 2 seed Louisville Cardinals will face a stiff test Sunday afternoon as they try to advance to the Sweet 16. That's right. He's better in bigger games, against better opponents, under the brightest lights and the most intense pressure.

If sitting out taught the Cardinals anything, it's that they must take advantage of this opportunity.

It was far from over as Adel scored on a driving layup and a MI turnover on the inbounds pass led to a Donovan Mitchell layup, cutting it to 67-65 with 56 seconds to go.

The total has gone over in nine of Louisville's last 11 games. More importantly, though, the Wolverines have won five in a row against teams with winning records (4-1 ATS), proving that they have beaten good teams lately.

Louisville (25-9) pulled ahead by nine twice and appeared on the cusp of breaking it open but MI clawed right back in it with a 6-0 flurry.

Jacksonville State cut the deficit to 10 midway through the second half, then got within 61-52 with 6:53 to go before running out of steam.

The over is 8-3 in MI last 11 vs. The Wolverines probably won't catch the Cardinals sleeping due to their stellar play over the last few weeks. A combination of Louisville's sputtering offense and Michigan's scoring surge, the momentum flipped in UM's favor. Something the Cardinals have struggled with at times during the season.

The real danger for the Ohio Valley Conference champion is that this is when Pitino's teams thrive.

"We certainly didn't take a year ago as a given that we'd move on just by playing at home", Louisville coach Jeff Walz said this week. Walton will have to continue to control the tempo as he's done all season, and his ability to get the other shooters involved could be the difference in MI finishing the upset.

All eyes will be glued here, as each team's best player plays point guard. "Going against Louisville will be a tough match-up, but we're ready for it, we're excited".

"I tell them old stories about players all the time", Pitino said. He said, "I watched the second half". His length, shooting and defense were all on display yesterday, and I like his matchup offensively whether he is guarded by Mangok Mathiang, Ray Spalding, Anas Mahmoud or Jaylen Johnson. "It's incredible the way they shoot the basketball".

Michigan's incredible run is going on to the Sweet 16.

Joe White: On Thursday, Michigan basketball answered my biggest question, which was "did they have anything left in the tank?"

After halftime, John Beilein said his team just had to come back and hit singles and not let the last minute and 8-0 run effect them. The trouble that Louisville's system can create for opponents is directly countered by what MI does well - move the ball and hit open shots.

A lay-up from UM's Derrick Walton Jr with 29 seconds remaining was the final straw for U of L. Be a leader and others will follow.

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