Tennessee had chances to pull this one out at the end, but Michigan ended Tennessee's season to the tune of 73-71.
The game started close, but Michigan began building up a nice buffer starting about 10 minutes before halftime. The 11-point margin at the half was about where it stayed for the first ten minutes of the second half, but UT inched its way closer down the stretch. Jordan McRae made a personal run of scoring or assisting on nine consecutive Tennessee points (opposed by five Michigan points) from four minutes to one minute to go.
That final minute began with the Vols forcing a shot clock violation, caused in large part by a McRae block as the clock neared zero. McRae missed a three on the other end, and the rebound got tipped out of bounds. The initial ruling was Tennessee ball, and while the replay appeared to show the ball bouncing off of Jeronne Maymon's hand, the ruling stayed with UT. Josh Richardson made the next shot to pull within three.
Tennessee then had to burn through some fouls to get UM into the bonus. After one of them, Glenn Robinson III took the inbounds pass and got himself in trouble. Off balance on one foot, he tossed it down the floor to no one in particular. Jarnell Stokes took the ball, and two passes later, McRae made a layup to pull within one. Michigan would turn it over on the subsequent inbounds pass as Caris LeVert stepped on the baseline after receiving the ball.
Tennessee got to set up a play with 10 seconds to go, but Stokes got called for an offensive foul that, on replay, appeared to be a flop. One more near turnover from Michigan later, Nik Stauskas made one and missed one, leaving under three seconds left on the carom. McRae's heave sailed over the basket, and that was game. The call on Stokes was not the kind that typically gets called in the final seconds, but UT got a questionable ruling in its favor on the ricochet with 32 seconds to play.
McRae led the team in his final game with 24 points and six rebounds. Richardson had 19, while Stokes had 11 and six. Jordan Morgan led the Wolverines with 15 points, while Stauskas had 14 and Robinson had 13. Michigan made over half of its threes and 80% from the line, while UT was just 3-11 from deep and shot only 57% (8-14) from the charity stripe.
It's a rough way to go out, but it was a great tournament run for the Vols. They won three tournament games for only the second time in school history, and they pushed last year's national runner up to the limit. Tennessee proved its 11-seed was as bogus as it seemed, and with Bruce Pearl coming back to the conference, a Sweet 16 run couldn't have come at a better time for Cuonzo Martin.