Texas A&M didn’t make its first 3-point attempt until there was 4 minutes left in the first half. By that point in time, the game, and the Aggies 2018 NCAA Tournament run, was pretty much over.
The Michigan Wolverines combined a defensive effort with a barrage of 3s to establish a commanding first half lead that allowed them to cruise to a 99-72 win, sending the Wolverines to the Elite Eight and the Aggies back to Texas.
Everything Texas A&M couldn’t do in the first half, the Wolverines could. Michigan showed why it was the best defensive team during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, as it forced 10 first half turnover and 14 for the game. Those turnover led to a number of easy transition buckets and a stunning 10 first half 3-pointers. Because of this, the Aggies trailed 52-28 at halftime
And for good measure, the Aggies opened the second half by hitting their first two 3-pointers of the second half. The Aggies eventually were able to trim the lead down from 29, but Texas A&M never got closer than 18. Michigan shot 14-of 24 from 3-point range, while Texas A&M only hit 3-of-15 3-point attempts
This Texas A&M team looked nothing like the one that held North Carolina, the defending champion, to a 6-for-31 effort from 3-point range in the second round. The Wolverines knocked down 10 of their 16 first half 3-point attempts.
The Wolverines were led by Mortiz Wagner and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman. The Aggies had a tough time matching up with Wagner, who consistently played with better energy than any of Texas A&M’s big men, as he finished with 21 points. Abdur-Rahkman added 24 points of his own and 7 assists for the Wolverines.
For Texas A&M, Tyler Davis once again led the way with 24 points and 8 rebounds. But thanks to Michigan playing more of a small-ball, perimeter oriented game, Davis and Robert Williams were not as effective as they had been in the first two games of the Tournament. Unlike the first two games of the tournament, Williams was not able to pull off a windmill dunk during the game. The projected lottery pick finished with 12 points, 5 rebounds and X3blocks.
Couple that with a poor 3-point shooting output from the Aggies’ guards, and it’s easy to see why the Aggies were so thoroughly dominated.
This is the fourth time that Texas A&M has made it to the Sweet 16 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams and all four times, the Aggies have lost in this round. Michigan will go on to play the winner of the Gonzaga-Florida State game, which will also be played on Thursday.
With the loss, the Aggies finish the season at 22-13. They were one of two SEC teams to make it to the Sweet 16, with the Kentucky Wildcats being the other.
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