The No. 4 seed Michigan Wolverines will need a much better showing from Big Ten Player of the Year Trey Burke if the hope to move past dangerous VCU Saturday afternoon in the third round of the NCAA Tournament at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
An injury scare and a poor 2-for-12 shooting were Burke’s highlights in the 71-56 second round win over South Dakota State Thursday, with Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr. each scoring 21 points.
Mitch McGary chipped in 13 points, while Burke did contribute seven assists to just two turnovers. It was the first time all season Burke scored in the single digits.
The Wolverines also held SDSU to 21 percent from the three point line, and they will need that defense against VCU’s balanced attack.
The No. 5 Rams annihilated Akron 88-42 in the second round, behind guard Troy Daniels 23 points and five rebounds. Daniels connected on six 3-pointers, and forward Juvonte Reddic tallied 21 points, six rebounds and two steals.
As a team, VCU shot 53 percent from the floor, and also forced 21 Akron turnovers.
Saturday will be Michigan’s latest attempt to survive the opening weekend of the tournament, with its last successful try coming in 1994 when it made the Elite Eight.
VCU followed up its improbable 2011 Final Four run with an early exit last year, and may be seeking some redemption.
The winner plays either No.1 Kansas or No. 8 UNC, who meet Sunday.
The game tips-off at 12:15 p.m. Eastern and will be broadcast by CBS, or watch a free live online stream at the NCAA March Madness official site here.
Betting Odds: Michigan is favored by 4 points.
Over/Under: 144 points
Prediction: VCU’s offense could put a huge scare into the Wolverines early, but Burke should rise to the occasion, along with Hardaway Jr. and Robinson. This game will come down to the wire, with Michigan eking out a victory.
Predicted Score: Michigan 69, VCU 67