No. 11 seed Michigan holds off No. 3 seed Tennessee, advances to Sweet Sixteen

Hunter Dickinson, Eli Brooks NCAA Michigan Tennessee Basktball
Posted at 7:56 PM, Mar 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-19 19:56:41-04

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Eli Brooks put Michigan ahead for good with a three-point play and delivered four critical points in the final minute, and 11th-seeded Michigan booked the most surprising of its five straight trips to the Sweet 16 by beating No. 3 seed Tennessee 76-68 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

Brooks finished with 23 points, including a looping, improvised hook shot and two free throws as the Wolverines (19-14) put away the Volunteers, who had a six-point lead with 8 1/2 minutes left but then went four minutes without scoring. Their cold shooting continued until it was too late.

Big man Hunter Dickinson had 27 points and two of his 10 rebounds in the closing seconds for the Wolverines, whose five straight Sweet 16 appearances are the most in Division I. Gonzaga is the only other team to make it four straight times.

Michigan will face either second-seeded Villanova or longtime rival Ohio State, the No. 7 seed, in Thursday’s East Region semifinals in San Antonio, Texas.

Hardly a conventional Cinderella given its resources and pedigree, this Michigan team nonetheless came into the tournament amid low expectations. The Wolverines (19-14) have the worst record of any team left in the field and did the bare minimum down the stretch to secure an at-large berth. Their consecutive wins in the tourney are their first since mid-February.

But coach Juwan Howard’s squad still has plenty of talent and elevated its play down the stretch against the Southeastern Conference champions. Howard himself had to learn some lessons about composure when he was suspended for five games late in the season for hitting a Wisconsin assistant during a postgame handshake line.

Kennedy Chandler had 19 points and Josiah-Jordan James had 13 for Tennessee (27-8), which had a seven-game winning streak snapped. Two days after shooting a school tourney record 60% from the field, the Vols shot 41.8% and came up short again in the postseason. Tennessee lost to Oregon State in the first round last year, also at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.