AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Michigan’s 71-56 second round NCAA tournament win over South Dakota State wasn’t enough to convince doubters that this team -- a team that ended the regular season 26-6, 12-6 in the Big Ten, formerly the No. 1 ranked team in the country with their only bad loss coming late in the season at Penn State --was ready to make a run in March.
And the Michigan players felt it heading into their third round match-up with the havoc driven VCU Rams, a No. 4 versus No. 5 seeded contest that had several in the national media siding with Shaka Smart’s crew to head to the Sweet Sixteen.
“Everybody was talking about VCU,” said freshman Glenn Robinson III. “Nobody mentioned Michigan coming into this game. We were just the guys they were facing and we wanted to go out there and prove to the world that we can play with these guys, we can hang with these guys, and come out with a W.”
Michigan not only won the game, advancing to their first Sweet Sixteen since 1994 when Robinson III was just two months old, the Wolverines deflated VCU as time and time again the plug was pulled on the vacuum like pressure leading to dunk after dunk after dunk and a lead that reached as high as 31 at one point in the second half.
All Shaka Smart could do afterwards was tip his cap to a Michigan team that took VCU’s style of play and used it against them.
“I thought Michigan was terrific today and they played great every facet of the game, the guards, their big guys,” said Smart. “You know, they obviously were the much better team today. And if they continue playing the way they did today, they got a chance to go a long way in this tournament.”
Robinson III’s re-birth of sorts has been a real shot in the arm for Michigan, scoring 35 points in the two games at the Palace on an efficient 15-for-19 from the field, also pulling in 15 rebounds.
The Wolverines are now 19-1 on the year when Robinson III scores in double figures -- a very simple formula for success.
“We just tried to do what we’ve been doing the whole season -- get rebounds and we know if we get stops they can’t set up in their press and we just ran the floor and I thought we did a good job of that,” said Robinson III.
“I believe new energy was found within our play, and I think that we experienced some new things with this team.”
To watch video of Robinson III from the post game locker room, press play below.