College basketball: High-octane offense, 3-point barrage leads MI past Oklahoma State

Mar 18, 2017, 00:59
College basketball: High-octane offense, 3-point barrage leads MI past Oklahoma State

On the season, Bridges averaged 16.7 points per game (team-high), 8.3 rebounds per game (team-high), 1.6 blocks per game (team-high), and shot 38.8% from the 3-point range. They're experienced and have great freshmen at the point.

MI shook off a frustrating first half, marred by foul trouble and adjustments to OSU's fast-paced style of play, to hold a 41-40 lead at the break.

Walton's 3-pointer with 9:06 remaining pushed MI into a 70-64 lead, but Evans countered with a layup to pull the Cowboys to within 70-66. The Cowboys also foul a lot, ranking 336th in fewest fouls per game (22.2). "We felt we took the pedal off the metal a little bit in the second, but after a good first period it put us in a good spot to be successful the rest of the game". The over/under total for the game is listed at 125.5 points. MI averaged 9.4 three pointers a game this season. Oklahoma State likes to get to the free throw line, where they rank fourth nationally shooting 78.7%. Best case scenario for them is a game in the 50's. They'd have to win four games in four days - a tall order, which is why no team seeded that low has ever done it.

The difference: Poise and emotion, the same components that helped MI (25-11) overcome last week's harrowing plane mishap to sweep four games in four days at the Big Ten Tournament. This goes against basically every stereotype you know.

Michigan, which has won 11 of its last 13 games, advances to the second-round matchup Sunday against the victor of No. 2 seed Louisville and No. 15 seed Jacksonville State. "Coming out of half, we were kinda lethargic in our pace, then we buckled back down and got after it".

Everyone talks about Tom Izzo being "Mr. March" but I think that he's not quite happy with just being successful in the tourney and making the Final Four - he wants a title. Walton filled up the stat sheet with 26 points, 11 assists, five rebounds and two steals. "I love the trust my teammates have in me". I think overall, there were just questions too about the tournament.

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The Fighting Irish are the nation's only team to reach the Elite Eight in each of the past two years, and their six tournament wins over that span are a school record. It's never great to have a season end. Thanks be to Evans for that - it's unbelievable how much space he's able to clear for shooters when he snakes his way into the lane.

But as good as the Cowboys were offensively, MI was just a little bit better. That might not seem like much, but, in a 40-minute college basketball game, that is 21.5% more playing time than anyone else on the team.

The Wolverines struggled earlier in the season when other teams hit them in the mouth. He did, however, give Oklahoma State betting-backers a victory. "That's me", he said with a laugh.

I remember the song and dance when Marcus Smart announced he was staying another year.

MI got on the board a little later when Sanchez knocked in a rebound on a power play.

Walton had his hands full Friday trying to keep up with Evans, who is not so much a Mercedes but a Formula I vehicle.