No. 11 seed Michigan beat No. 3 seed Tennessee

INDIANAPOLIS — Eli Brooks gave Michigan a definitive lead with a three-point game and delivered four critical points in the last minute, and 11th-ranked Michigan booked the most surprising of his five straight trips to the Sweet 16 by defeating Tennessee, No. 3, defeated 76-68 in the second round of Saturday’s NCAA tournament.

Brooks finished with 23 points, including a loop, an impromptu hook shot and two free throws as the Wolverines (19-14) defeated the Volunteers, who had a six-point lead with 8 1/2 minutes left but then went four minutes without stayed score. Their cold shooting continued until it was too late.

Big man Hunter Dickinson had 27 points and two of his 10 rebounds in the closing seconds for the Wolverines, whose five straight Sweet 16 appearances are the most in Division I. Gonzaga is the only other team to make it four straight.

Michigan meets either second-seeded Villanova or longtime rivals No. 7 seed Ohio State in Thursday’s eastern region semifinals in San Antonio, Texas.

Michigan coach Juwan Howard celebrates after the win.
Michigan coach Juwan Howard celebrates after the win.

Hardly a traditional Cinderella given their resources and pedigree, this Michigan team nonetheless entered the tournament with low expectations. The Wolverines (19-14) have the worst record of any team remaining in the field and did what was necessary down the track to earn a spot at large. Her back-to-back tournament wins are the first since mid-February.

But coach Juwan Howard’s side still have plenty of talent and have played forward against the Southeastern Conference champions on the stretch. Howard himself had to learn some composure lessons when he was suspended for five games late in the season for punching a Wisconsin assistant during a post-game handshake line.

Kennedy Chandler had 19 points and Josiah-Jordan James had 13 for Tennessee (27-8), which was on a seven-game winning streak. Two days after shooting a school tournament record 60% from the field, the Vols shot 41.8% and fell short again in the postseason. Tennessee lost in the first round to Oregon State last year, also at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

This year, the arena was filled to the rafters with a hue of orange and Vols fans repeatedly belted out the lyrics to “Rocky Top” during downtime – a stark contrast to last year, when attendance was down to around 25 due to COVID-19 % of capacity was limited limitations, the energy made a difference.

Wolverine’s starting point guard DeVante’ Jones returned from concussion protocol only to be pulled in the first half after a collision with teammate Moussa Diabate.

Michigan controlled most of the first half until the Vols capitalized on a late 13-4 run to take a 37-32 half-time lead. Tennessee played from the lead for most of the second half until Michigan went on a 14-5 run.

The Wolverines parted ways twice through tip-ins from Terrance Williams II. And then Brooks swung the game.

His three-point play with 3:21 left made it 65-62. Chandler’s knight reduced the lead to 66-64, but James missed a 3-pointer and Brooks answered with his old-school hook before Michigan finished it on the free throw line. No. 11 seed Michigan beat No. 3 seed Tennessee


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