No. 2 seed Louisville faces MI in coaching rematch

Mar 20, 2017, 00:31
No. 2 seed Louisville faces MI in coaching rematch

Few have had a better game in the 2017 NCAA tourney than Wagner did today.

But the Wolverines came thundering back behind the powerful play of point guard Derrick Walton Jr. and center Moritz Wagner.

Not often does MI find itself in a game with both teams passing 90 points, but the NCAA Tournament brings about much different foes than the regular season.

Louisville had a much more comfortable win to start the tournament, winning 78-63. MI regrouped and proceeded to win four games in four days and take the league tourney as the No. 8 seed. The Wolverines were not high-flying or hot-shooting in their NCAA Tournament second-round game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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To put it into perspective, Louisville had 14 points in the paint with under 10 minutes left while MI had 16 total points.

Mangok Mathiang put in quality minutes for Louisville in the first half, but got in foul trouble and finished with 13 points and four rebounds. They did just enough on that end to pull off the victory, and ride into the Sweet 16 slated to play the victor of the Oregon-Rhode Island game. The Cardinals create a lot of their offense through turning the ball over, so MI can force Louisville to create more in the half court. Still, the Cardinals' defense clamped down, holding the Wolverines' vaunted shooters to just 37 percent from the field and a meager 27 percent from three point range. Louisville is always a tough matchup with their size and tempo, but MI is going to be a tough matchup as well. John Beilein entered the victorious locker room with a water gun in hand, and proceeded to soak his celebrating players. "I didn't play at all in the Sweet 16 game, so I didn't expect to play that day".

In the final media break, MI claimed a 63-59 lead with 3:36 to play. Louisville shot 48.4 percent and outrebounded the opponent 36-23. On its third attempt with the lead, U-M got the ball in play, and Walton showed his leadership with a gutsy take to the rim and a 69-65 advantage with now less than 30 seconds remaining.