Rushed Reactions: #4 Michigan 71, #13 South Dakota State 56Posted by Will Tucker on March 21st, 2013
Will Tucker is a RTC correspondent. Will is covering the Auburn Hills pod of the Midwest Region. You can also find him on Twitter @blrdswag.
Three Key Takeaways:
- Both teams tried their hand at defense, but their true characters shown through. A deceptive low number of possessions in the low-scoring first half obscured the fact that both teams shot above 40%, and the second half showcase the offensive efficiency of the Wolverines and Jackrabbits as the pace picked up. Both teams came into this game averaging around 65 possessions, but the uptempo pace played to Michigan’s favor once Nate Wolters went cold and couldn’t keep up with Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III.
- Michigan was uncharacteristically careless with the ball against a mediocre defensive team in the first half, but they actually settled down once the pace picked up. The Wolverines turned it over seven times in the first half, approaching their average of 9.2 per game, but would only commit 2 turnovers after halftime despite playing at a frenzied pace. It bodes well for the Wolverines should they end up facing VCU’s “havoc” press in the Third Round, and it’s encouraging that Trey Burke managed the game well despite starting 0-of-7 from the field with two early turnovers. The point guard finished with seven assists and didn’t cough it up again for the rest of the game.
- Michigan enjoyed a much more noticeable home-court advantage than did their rivals from East Lansing earlier in the day. That’s not to disparage the Spartans, because the first session still boasted an attendance of nearly 19,000. But several factors –– weekday afternoon versus evening; a high-octane, offense-oriented opponent led by a cult-superstar point guard –– made the Wolverines’ first tournament game much more festive, energetic and well attended. Nate Wolters repeated after the game that he didn’t believe the atmosphere affected his team’s play, but Hardaway suggested the familiar environment helped his shooting: “We’ve played here before last year, so we know what to expect out of the court and out of the rims. It felt good.”
Star of the Game. Tie: Tim Hardaway Jr. and Glenn Robinson III. While Trey Burke struggled to get it going, Hardaway essentially kept the Jackrabbits from building a substantial lead, hitting four first-half three pointers to pace Brayden Carlson and Nate Wolters. In the second half, Robinson took over where Hardaway left off, draining four 3-pointers in the first three and a half minutes. The two combined for 42 points on 16 of 22 shooting, hitting 8 of 10 from beyond the arc.
- “Apparently now I’m distributing stats” — Palace elevator operator who was conscripted into service, revealing how consuming and resource-intensive this event is.
- “Michigan’s length and athleticism in not what we’re used to seeing every day” — Scott Nagy after the game.
Sights & Sounds. Huge cluster of Michigan students in the upper deck behind the UM bench, waving a maize and blue Canadian flag for Nik Stauskas, who hails from Mississauga, Ontario. The 6’6″ guard is only a freshman, and but some visionary entrepreneur debuted a flag in his honor as early as last December.
What’s Next? Michigan will take on the winner of tonight’s game between #5 seed VCU and #12 seed Akron on Saturday.