Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - The seventh-seeded Texas Longhorns and second-seeded Michigan Wolverines will battle it out Saturday in a third-round Midwest Region clash at the BMO Harris Center.
The winner of the contest will advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament to face either Tennessee or Mercer.
Texas narrowly escaped a second-round contest with Arizona State Thursday. The Longhorns and Sun Devils were tied as time was expiring, but a Cameron Ridley rebound and put-back at the buzzer gave Texas an 87-85 victory.
Michigan easily took care of Wofford in the second round, defeating the Terriers, 57-40, to advance. Wofford scored the first four points of the game, but an 20-8 Michigan run ended the brief hopes of an upset.
Texas leads the all-time series against Michigan, 2-1. The last time these teams met on the court was back in 1996, also in Milwaukee.
Texas held a five-point lead over Arizona State at the end of the first half Thursday, but it wouldn't last. The Sun Devils came roaring back in the second period and tied the score at 85 apiece before Ridley gathered in a missed jump shot and barely got the ball out of his hands for the put-back layup as the buzzer sounded. Ridley paced the team with 17 points, adding 12 rebounds for the double-double. Martez Walker chipped in 16 points against ASU, and Demarcus Holland netted 14 points. Isaiah Taylor, Javan Felix and Jonathan Holmes all scored 11 points for the Longhorns in the win.
Holmes leads a group of four Texas players in double-digit scoring on the season, and enters the contest against Michigan with a team-leading 12.9 ppg mark. Taylor adds 12.4 ppg for the Longhorns, while Felix (11.8 ppg) and Ridley (11.4 ppg) round out that specific group. Ridley's 8.2 rpg average is a Texas best, though Holmes chips in 7.1 rpg. Taylor's 4 apg mark (136 total assists on the season) tops the squad going into the bout with the Wolverines. Texas is averaging 74.5 ppg as a unit.
It wasn't a brilliant offensive performance by Michigan against Wofford by any means, but the Wolverines got the job done, and dominated on the defensive end to ensure a second-round victory. Nik Stauskas led all Michigan players in the contest with 15 points, and Glenn Robinson III chipped in 14 with seven rebounds. Jordan Morgan, who has been a viable replacement for Mitch McGary in the large majority of games McGary has missed due to injury, tallied a double- double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the win.
Stauskas has really stepped up his game this season on the offensive end, netting a team-leading 17.4 ppg. Shooting isn't all Stauskas is good for. The 6-foot-6 guard tops the team with 105 total assists on the year, and has recorded 20 steals and 10 blocked shots. Caris LeVert scores 13.1 ppg for Michigan, and Robinson adds 13 ppg. Morgan's 4.8 rpg average is the best on the team among active players.