March Madness

2014 NCAA Tournament Preview: (2) Michigan vs. (7) Texas

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(2) Michigan Wolverines
Last year Glenn Robinson III and Nik Stauskas were secondary options to Mitch McGary and Trey Burke during the Wolverines’ run to the national championship game. This year they’re in leadership roles and on Thursday night they did their part in the dispatching of the Wofford Terriers 57-40. Stauskas scored a team-high 15 points while Robinson had 14 points and seven rebounds in a game that the Wolverines were never seriously threatened in. Senior center Jordan Morgan came up big for the Wolverines as well, recording a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Wolverines held the Terriers to 1-19 shooting from beyond the arc while making 7-17 themselves. They only got to the free throw line nine times, though, something to take note of as they get set to face a Longhorns team that made three times as trips in their opening round game. After the win Wolverines head coach John Beilein credited his defense. Their task is going to be much more difficult against the Longhorns. Jonathan Holmes’ is their top scoring threat and a serious concern, but limiting the impact of Cameron Ridley could be the key to victory.

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(7) Texas Longhorns
Longhorns sophomore center Cameron Ridley chose the perfect time to hit the first game winning shot of his life. With the game tied at 85 Jonathan Holmes took a three point shot that bounced hard off of the iron. The ball was loose in the paint, but Ridley picked it up and put it off the glass with his off hand just before time expired to give the Longhorns the win. To make Ridley’s finish more impressive, it was over the outstretched arm of Jordan Bachynski, the nation’s leading shotblocker. The game-winner capped off Ridleys’ 10th double-double of the season as he finished with 17 points, 12 rebounds, two assists and four blocks. The Sun Devils outrebounded the Longhorns on the game by two, but that last offensive rebound they surrendered ended up costing them a seat in the Round of 32. Ridley was one of six Longhorns to score in double figures, with every starter eclipsing the mark along with reserve guard Martez Walker. Meanwhile, all of the Sun Devils’ offense came from just five players, with Bachnyski’s 25 leading the way. The Longhorns’ guards did a great job against Jahii Carson, forcing him to take 16 shots to get his 19 points while turning it over six times in likely the final game of his college career. They also ran the offense extremely well as the team shot 53 percent from the field, 41 percent from deep, made 27 trips to the free throw line (where they made 20) and had 17 assists on 31 made field goals. A similar performance from their backcourt could earn them a spot in the Sweet 16.