With a double-digit victory over the 15th seeded Wofford Terriers in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, the Michigan Wolverines will take on the Texas Longhorns on Saturday evening in Milwaukee.
Michigan played a good game in their win over Wofford, but many expected it to be flashier than it was. Flashy doesn’t advance in March. Getting the job done, however, does. That’s what the Wolverines did and now they face a Longhorns team that is coming off of an impressive 87-85 victory over Arizona State at the buzzer.
In watching Texas, the player that stood out the most to me is big man Cameron Ridley. The sophomore center had 17 points, 12 rebounds, and four blocks in the win over the Sun Devils. Jordan Morgan and Jon Horford will have their work cut out for them in slowing this guy down.
Power forward Jonathan Holmes will be trouble down low as well. Texas is a very good rebounding team led by these two players, and the Wolverines will have to keep them from getting second chances, as the Longhorns had 10 offensive rebounds on Thursday night and scored their last seven points of the game on second chance opportunities.
Derrick Walton Jr. vs. Isaiah Taylor
This game will feature two of the best young point guards in college basketball in Walton and Taylor. This match-up very well could be the most underrated in terms of securing a victory for their respective teams.
Taylor has shown a bit more scoring punch than Walton throughout the year, but both have the ability to hit big shots and drive the line to find the open guy. Whoever finds themselves in the lane more could be the difference when the final horn sounds.
Wolverines’ Big Three is Key
As is ultimately the deciding factor for Michigan in most games, they need their stars to show up. That means Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Caris Levert will be counted on to take the game over for the Wolverines.
Stauskas and Robinson had 15 and 14 points in the first game, respectively, but Levert scored only six points on six attempts.
Michigan arguably boasts the most skilled team in all of college basketball, but they did not exactly put it all together in their first game, but they didn’t have to. There are some games where the Wolverines can get by on talent alone, but it will not happen on Saturday. It would be an overstatement to say that they are ripe for an upset, but the Longhorns are definitely capable of delivering if it comes down to that.
The Wolverines should win this game rather easily if they can keep Ridley and Holmes contained. Arizona State was able to push the pace against them on Thursday night, and Michigan should have no problem doing the same.
If Texas wants to get into a shootout with this group, Michigan will come out on top.
Score: Michigan 81, Texas 74