Michigan 78, VCU 53

Dylan Burkhardt
on
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Bryan Fuller

It was clear that Michigan was unfazed by VCU’s vaunted ‘havoc’ defense from the opening tip off. The Wolverines scored on six of their first seven possessions and never looked back.

Havoc didn’t lead to giveaways – although Trey Burke had a season high seven turnovers – instead it yielded open shot after open shot for John Beilein’s Wolverines. Michigan’s defense held the Rams to just 23 first half points and its offense was able to extend a 15-point half time lead to a 78-53 victory.

VCU’s defense would make things difficult at times but Mitch McGary dominated the game. The Wolverines’ 6-foot-10, 250 pound freshman was a presence on both ends of the floor and finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds. McGary was joined in double figures by Trey Burke (18 points), Tim Hardaway Jr. (14) and Glenn Robinson III (14).

The win means that Michigan advances to the Sweet 16 at Cowboy Stadium where it will face the winner of Sunday’s Kansas-North Carolina game on Friday. Full post game coverage from the Palace of Auburn Hills to follow, post game discussion below.

  • Indiana_Matt

    I’m ready for UNC or Kansas! This is going to be a long week of waiting.

    • Mattski

      With that kind of time to prepare, I believe in our coach.

      • Indiana_Matt

        And where are all the doom and gloom folks from last week on here? I want to see some “Man, I totally underestimated our team and coach” comments.

        • rlcBlue

          Man, Indiana_Matt totally underestimated our team and coach.

          Wait, is that not what you meant?

          • Indiana_Matt

            haha.

        • Adam St Patrick

          I think a lot of folks who had negative comments about the coach were reacting to how his style didn’t really seem to be effective in the Big Ten. Now that Michigan’s not playing Big Ten teams, that point probably has even more traction than it did before.

          • Indiana_Matt

            That makes sense I suppose. Winning a Big Ten title and coming in 3rd in the strongest conference in 20 years the following year still seems effective to me. But that is subjective.

            And the Big 10 has always been tough, but these last few years are ridiculous. The amount of contact they allow does make the games ugly and I think encourages kids to leave earlier in order to prevent injury. I remember Sullinger getting pummeled game after game his sophomore year and thinking, “This kid should’ve left. He’s gonna get seriously hurt by some Purdue or MSU scrub pounding on him.” Beilein sort of complained about the lack of calls at one point and I agree completely. Slugfests just rob this great game of its full potential.

    • Jeff

      Personally, I need a couple more days to bask in victory. It’s been too long since we made it to the second weekend.

      • Indiana_Matt

        Let’s bask! Sweet 16 baby!

        • jakelam2116

          Yes, we should all enjoy this regardless of what happens next. A great step in the continued progress of the program.

  • MGoTweeter

    As Timmy would say pregame AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA let’s go!

    • jakelam2116

      Timmy had a look on his face all game that said, ‘We’re not dropping this one.’ Played like it, too.

  • Jeff

    I had a feeling this was a good matchup for us and that definitely proved true. If VCU can’t turn people over, they aren’t that good. They might have actually fared better if they had abandoned the press, but there’s no way they could suddenly change who they were.

  • JDR

    Is there anything better than being the first game on Saturday and winning by 25? Easy morning and we get to spend the rest of the weekend watching favorites fall apart.

    • gobluemd16

      That’s what I was thinking. As soon as we won, I just sat in my seat and smiled. 15 more games this weekend to watch the big dogs fall, while we are sitting comfortably in the Sweet 16 after a 25 point win. I even (kind of) wanted MSU to win just because it shows how dominant the B1G really has been this season. MSU fans were actually somewhat pulling for Michigan at the Palace this afternoon as well

  • Joshua Ross

    VCU would’ve given us much more trouble if they had abandoned their press. It clearly wasn’t working, and if they ran a halfcourt defense we wouldn’t have shot as well or got as many easy transition points.

    • MGoTweeter

      I was thinking that midway first half. If I was vcu, I would have stopped pressing and just played half court pressure. They were finding shots so easy early against michigan and michigan was getting most of theirs out of full court.

      However the rest of the game I think michigan really stepped up in the half court on D.

      • JOHNNAVARREISMEYHERO

        They didn’t stop pressing when up nearly 50 points on Thursday, so I wasn’t surprised. Either way, I am glad we blasted them so bad.

    • ali

      I don’t think they could have stopped pressing. The reason they are so good at it (normally) is that they ALWAYS press after baskets. On the one hand, you can destroy Butler, on the other hand, you occasionally get destroyed, A few twists in that first five minutes of the 2nd half, and they are right back in the game.

  • JDR

    Also – secret key to the game: two combined turnovers by Hardaway, Stauskas, Levert, Robinson and Albrecht. Solid performances by our other ball handlers made a huge difference.

  • rlcBlue

    Famous last words, but… I think the B1G puts 5 in the Sweet 16. I don’t see IU, OSU, or MSU stumbling and one of Minnesota or Illinois will disappoint a team from the Sunshine State. If I had to pick one I’d say it will be the Gophers.

  • MikeInOhio

    Love playing, and more importantly, winning the first game of the day. Relax and watch other teams go at it.
    Great win and we should all be real happy for the players and staff

    • JOHNNAVARREISMYHERO

      Agree, can sit back and relax, and enjoy a Michigan win!

  • Chazer

    Great win Blue….Yabba Dabba Doo! You cannot let Big Blue get out and run! I often wonder if this team was built more for the tournament than the B1G. You’ve got to have speed and athleticism to compete, they shredded VCU…..so much for the HAVOC!

    Love to see how Mitch has progressed, credit goes to the the caching staff and Mitch for improving his game. He was a freaking beast today and Spike gave us great minutes. JB knows how to put the right talent in the game…..could not win with two bigs today! This team will attack if you give them the open floor, I guess there’s a reason why no one presses them in the B1G.

    Go Blue!

    • gobluemd16

      I really, really hope UNC wins tomorrow. That would be another GREAT matchup for us. They run, run, run and play very little defense. No presence down low either.

  • Mattski

    GRIII 14 points 9 boards 2 assists, Not too shabby while McGary is blowing up.

  • MLaw

    Well I guess Mitch can play 30 + minutes and be effective. Watch out, he is blowing up in the tournament. Could be special if he stays another year.

  • JOHNNAVARREISMEYHERO

    I am so proud of our team. Coach Beilein had our guys ready to go and we fired on all cylinders. Props to our guys and Coach for having us prepared and ready to handle VCU with ease.

  • Chris in NC

    If McGary keeps playing this great, we’re going to be nearly impossible to beat.

  • matt

    I live in Dallas and my brother got me tickets to sweet 16 and elite 8 games for my birthday before even the brackets were announced. I was stoked when Michigan got placed in the South and now I get to see them in person! Great win today for UM. Robinson and McGary and even Albrecht stepping up has been just what the doctor ordered. Even Horford’s been providing solid minutes. It will take that kind of team effort to continue on. Great job Blue!

    • Jeff

      That’s pretty cool. Have fun!

    • gobluemd16

      If you’ve got two tickets, take me!

  • Adam St Patrick

    I know McGary is suddenly playing against non-Big Ten bigs, and so is the rest of the team and therefore that explains a lot. But man he just seems to have so much more bounce and lift this week.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    great win for michigan…our freshmen contributed…GR3 and McGary play like this will be fun to watch…if we play UNC…we should invite Chris Webber to come watch…maybe he will just bet on the game lol …

  • geoffclarke

    GO BLUE!

  • Mattski

    The NYTimes live blog on today’s action called Spike’s pass the play of the day. Of course, we were the first game, but I’ve got to say, that guy brings another great dimension when he comes on the floor. And he is a serious-fine dribbler. If he’s helping ease Walton’s growing pains next year we should be totally cool with that.

    • Adam St Patrick

      That pass on the break? It was absolutely beautiful, indeed.

  • jemblue

    Wow, what an incredibly satisfying performance. It was amazing to shut up all the critics and destroy the media darlings. The Big Ten was the nation’s best league and now that we’re no longer bashing each other to pieces we’re showing it to the world.

  • gobluemd16

    If we make the Final Four, etc. and McGary continues to play like this, he is going to SHOOT up the mock draft boards. I was thinking about how horrible it would be to potentially lose him now, but if we made it that far I can’t even imagine how exciting it would be for Michigan and the fans. This team is so fun to watch right now, look forward to the game against Kansas or UNC, both are definitely beatable