Friday, March 18, 2011

Michigan Thumps Tennessee; Harris Says His Team Quit

The Tennessee Volunteers entered the NCAA tournament with a cloud of uncertainty hanging over their program. The Michigan Wolverines entered the tournament with confidence, feeling they could play with anyone. On the court in today's meeting between the two teams Tennessee played listless and didn't do coach Bruce Pearl any favors and Michigan continued to play with the confidence they exhibited throughout the second half of the year.

Pearl who pretty much has one foot out the door for lying to NCAA investigators, wasn't given a vote of confidence by athletic director Mike Hamilton before the tournament. Hamilton stated in a radio interview that the "jury was still out" regarding Pearl's status. Not exactly the right thing to say before the tournament. If he tried to turn this into a Bo Schembechler moment, he failed miserably. You would think the players would come together and have a win one for the gipper moment. The Volunteers simply couldn't muster up that effort. It led to freshman forward Tobias Harris questioning his teammates' heart and saying they quit. Based on their performance he may not be too far off.

"We just didn't play with heart out there," Harris said. "Michigan came out and made shots and we just did a terrible job of trying to cover them. On the offensive end, we rushed too many shots. Basically, just quit."

Anyone who thinks Tennessee should get rid of Pearl, think about what the program was before he got to Knoxville. So be careful what you wish for.

As for Michigan, a date with long time nemesis Duke awaits. I don't expect them to win, but I do expect them to play with the confidence, grit, and heart they've played with all year. The Wolverines have shown they can play with the nation's elite. They were close losses, but with a few more breaks they could've won those games. I know horseshoes and hand grenades. I believe Michigan can make this game competitive and possibly throw a scare into the Blue Devils. If they play like they did today against Tennessee they could possibly pull what could be the tournament's biggest upset.

Stu Douglass is looking forward to the next round.

"It was a great rivalry, great history," Douglass said, "and it's a new day."

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