Earlier in the week, Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton said some things that made it sound like head basketball coach Bruce Pearl was on his way out. If the performance today against Michigan is any indication, Pearl might as well have left days ago, because the Volunteers didn't show up at all. Michigan beat them by 30 points, winning by a score of 75-45 despite not making a single free throw (U-M only attempted one). That is the first time in NCAA tournament history a team has won a game without making a free throw, and Michigan won by 30 points!
Believe it or not, this game was actually close in the first half. In fact, Tennessee led by a score of 23-17 with less than seven minutes to go in the first half. That was about the last we heard from the Vols all game, though. Michigan put together a 16-6 run to close out the half and took a 33-29 lead into halftime. The Wolverines never looked back.
Michigan opened the second half on a 19-2 run (or a 21-2 run if you go back to the end of the first half). Tennessee couldn't make a shot to save its life, and Michigan's offense was operating very smoothly. The Vols did manage to cut the lead down to 16 points, but Michigan responded by going on a 14-0 run. The Wolverines outscored Tennessee by a margin of 42-16 in the second half, and if you go back to the point when Tennessee led 23-17, Michigan closed the game on a 58-22 run.
Michigan's scoring was very balanced in this game. Zack Novak led Michigan in scoring with 14 points thanks to going 4-6 from three-point land. Stu Douglass, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Matt Vogrich each had 11 points. Vogrich went 5-5 from the field and played outstanding in the first half when Hardaway Jr. was on the bench with two fouls. Jordan Morgan spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls as well, but he finished with 10 points during the game.
Tennessee's leading scorer was Tobias Harris, who had all 19 of his points in the first half. He looked flat out dominant, but Michigan kept him off the scoreboard in the final 20 minutes. Nobody else could get going for Tennessee, which is a big reason why the final score ended up being so lopsided. (Side note: Since seeding began in 1979, there has never been a more lopsided score in a game between the eight and nine seeds. Well done, Bruce Pearl.)
With the win, Michigan moves on to the third round of the 2011 NCAA tournament. It will likely face the No. 1 seed Duke Blue Devils, which play Hampton, the No. 16 seed in the West Region, later today. After what was said about Duke in the Fab Five documentary last Sunday and the war of words involving Grant Hill and Jalen Rose and Jimmy King, I don't think there would be a more fitting matchup.
If you are in need of a printable NCAA bracket to keep track of the tournament, make sure to download SB Nation's March Madness Bracket.