INDIANAPOLIS— Tennessee and Michigan will face off at 5:15 p.m. ET on Saturday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. The match will be televised by CBS.
Michigan, the No. 11 seed in the South Region, advanced with a 76-63 win over No. 6 Colorado State. No. 3 Tennessee strangled No. 14 Longwood, 88 -56.
“It’s going to take a lot of teamwork” Rick Barnes said on Thursday, looking ahead to the round of 16 against the Wolverines, “not only from our post players who do their job early and do their job, but also from the guards who help, because we have always believed that the defense of the post begins on the perimeter. It will take a great team effort.
That’s exactly what the Vols have against Longwood.
Tennessee (27-7), winning its eighth straight game and 16th of its last 18, had five double-digit scorers, led by 18 points from Santiago Vescovi. The junior guard finished 6 for 8 from the 3-point line — tying a program record for three in an NCAA Tournament game — while recording seven assists.
Josiah Jordan James had 17 points to go with nine rebounds and John Fulkerson came off the bench to score 13 of his 15 points in the first half. Kennedy Chandler had 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and Zakai Zeigler marked 10.
Vescovi, James, Chandler and Zeigler combined to go 14 for 22 from the 3-point line.
Tennessee shot 60.0 percent from the field, a new season high. The Vols shot 58.3 percent from the 3-point line, setting a new program record for a game in the NCAA Tournament.
They also tied a season high with 29 assists on 33 shots completed.
“When we move the ball and we move the pieces,” Barnes said, “that’s when we play our best basketball. We’ve got guys who can pass and we’ve got guys who can cut and move without the ball. That’s when you stagnate, that’s when you get bogged down.
Michigan stalled early Thursday, edging No. 6 Colorado State by 15 with just over five minutes left in the first half. The Wolverines, however, edged the Rams by 19 points in the second half, running away with the victory 76-63.
Hunter Dickinsonthe 7-foot-1, 260-pound big man led the way with 21 points and six boards. Eli Brooks marked 16, Frankie Collins added 14 and Caleb Houstan finished with 13.
The Wolverines were the No. 42 seed in the 68-team field – Tennessee came in at No. 10 overall as the No. 3 seed – and one of the last overall teams to enter the tournament, entering with a 17-14 record after a loss to First Four-bound Indiana in the second round of the Big Ten tournament.
Tennessee has faced Michigan twice in the NCAA Tournament, losing 75-45 in the first round in 2011, after scoring just 16 points in the second half. The two teams met in Indianapolis in 2014, with Michigan winning 73-71 in a Sweet Sixteen game at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Barnes, when asked about Michigan after the win over Longwood on Thursday, said it would “definitely” be a different game against the Wolverines. But he hadn’t studied that far yet.
“To be completely honest with you, I won’t even allow myself to think about who we’re going to play next,” he said. “I just won’t. We thought a lot about Longwood because we had a lot of respect for them and what they did.
“But obviously our coaches have been working on it, and we know they’re big, and there’s no doubt they’re going to beat him in that.”