There was a feeling all day around Indianapolis that we were in for an epic night of basketball for the Midwest Regional and the games we got did not disappoint.
First up, we had 2 seed Michigan facing off against 11 seed Tennessee. The key going into this game was really how would the Wolverines handle the size inside of of the Volunteers. The answer to that was the same answer Michigan has found throughout the tournament so far, drain threes like they are going out of style.
Michigan was 7-9 from three point land in the first half but you had the feeling that Tennessee had a run in them since they were down just 11 despite the Wolverines hot shooting. Tennessee clawed its way back into the game though, mainly on the strength of tightening up the defense and Jordan McRae really took over. Most people who watched the game couldn’t tell you exactly how they got back in the game but the meltdown by Michigan at the end helped quite a bit. In the end, Jordan Morgan drew the huge charge that helped decide the game and he dropped the best quote of the post game press conference:
“We heard all week about they had mismatches and how we couldn’t guard them inside. We’re not really soft around here. That’s not who we are.”
If the first game was a prime rib appetizer, the second game was a lobster. The crowd was electric and split down the middle between the two fan bases.
Louisville came out hot from the start, looking like the team that was crushing teams down the stretch run of the season. Kentucky came out very cold and settling for a lot of jump shots. In fact, John Calipari said in the post game press conference that he knew that would happen:
I told the staff before the game that I knew the guys would come out an pee down their legs by settling for jump shots and that’s exactly what they did.
Louisville couldn’t deliver an early knock out punch and the young Wildcats keep clawing their way back into the game. They were able to keep it pretty close throughout the game but just couldn’t get over the hump. It took until 39 seconds left in the game for Aaron Harrison to hit the three that sent Kentucky back to the Elite 8.
Kentucky could finally be realizing all the potential they came into the season with when they were preseason #1. They picked a great time for the lightbulb to come on as they have a date with Michigan on Sunday at 5:05 pm est on CBS.