Michigan Basketball: Tennessee vs. Michigan — Preview
Rocky Really is Rocking — Elite Eight on the Line
Michigan fans are ready to watch the Wolverine and Volunteer match-up. So, it seems, the rest of the country has the same flavor for the game.
There probably is no need to hype up the Volunteers. Anyone watching this team the last two weeks can clearly see two things: (1) the Volunteers present many problems in defending, and (2) this team has athletic talent. The real difference is how well the team has played together the last two weeks.
Michigan has been lauded for unselfishness and that is what I have seen from watching the tournament run of the Volunteers. The players always appear to be looking, looking, for players in better positions. There have been plenty of well- placed short passes that have yielded better offensive opportunities, especially inside.
Michigan is not playing a mirror image of itself, but the Volunteers like to run, like to score, and may not be the best defensive team in the land. Like Michigan, the Volunteer defense is not bad, but has been better in the tournament.
Tennessee can hit you inside or outside, but has more inside presence (and personnel) than Michigan.
Jordan McRae is a big 6’ 6” guard and is scoring nearly 19 points a game. He presents problems for Michigan, like Stauskas presents problems to opponents. Mission number one is to find someone that can slow him down. Who that could be on the roster is a mystery. Josh Richardson is another big guard that can do damage, averaging nearly ten points a game.
Jarnell Stokes is another man-monster Michigan must deal with to win. He is over 250 pounds and is averaging over 10 rebounds a game, not to many in this land can say that. He also averages nearly 15 points a game. Morgan will again be called to put on the warrior mentality and do battle. He will, like in the Texas game, likely be called on to go as long as he can. Morgan is the only guy on Michigan that can contest a heavy back-in by a post offensive player.
Jeronne Maymon is a second man-child that Tennessee can unleash upon an opponent. Like Stokes he comes in at 6’ 8” and 260 pounds. Herein lies the problem: this is a great advantage for a team that uses low post players to have two such pillars, and only some teams can defend such bulk. Michigan has to go maximum effort to defend one such player. Who will guard the other big if both are on the floor for much of the game? Horford may, for a few minutes, give UM some potential there. But that puts a shooter on the bench.
So, how does Michigan combat this scenario? Coach Beilein may lay it all on the line and make it a YMCA up and down game, one where the perimeter shooters act like u-boats in the “happy days.” Tennessee players look like the type of guys who would enjoy playing such a game. Tennessee has very good length and guard the perimeter better than average. But, again, I have noticed discipline and patience and a willingness to look for the better opportunity. So, is this strategy or bait that Michigan will put on the line at the beginning of the line?
Michigan is again up against it, like with Texas, but once again, Michigan can win this game. Beilein will make no secret to the players that Michigan must match Tennessee in intensity and defense, at the very least. It will be another wild toad ride on the boards. It may be as simple as shots falling. But, this regional is being played in one of those big football thingies that folks pay a ton for a seat that is expressed as limited viewing. It seems as if three pointers sometimes have a falloff in a setting of this nature.
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Doc4Blu
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