As one member of Michigan’s famed Fab Five exhorted the Wolverines from the stands at Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, another member coached the team into the round of 32 in the N.C.A.A. tournament.
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Jalen Rose flexed, shouted and raised his arms throughout as Michigan coach Juwan Howard, Rose’s former teammate on a squad that reached back-to-back N.C.A.A. championship games in the early 1990s, led the 11th-seeded Wolverines to a 75-63 victory over No. 6 seed Colorado State. The Wolverines (18-14) will face No. 3 Tennessee, which routed No. 14 Longwood, 88-56, in a South Regional round of 32 game on Saturday.
Howard was coaching in just his second game since serving a five-game suspension at the conclusion of the regular season, a punishment for slapping a Wisconsin assistant in the head after a game on Feb. 20. Michigan lost to Indiana in its first game of the Big Ten tournament last week.
Michigan’s win meant that, for the sixth straight tournament, a No. 11 seed had knocked off a No. 6 seed, though oddsmakers had favored the Wolverines anyway. Michigan, which peaked at No. 4 in The Associated Press poll early in the regular season, has won at least one game in six straight tournaments.
The Wolverines trailed by as many as 15 points in the first half, in which they missed all seven of their shots from beyond the arc, but roared back in the second half, outscoring the Rams, 46-27. Michigan shot 4 for 7 from deep in the second half.
Asked during a television interview what he told his players at halftime, Howard said: “Get back to our habits. Defensively, we got to do a better job against that 3-point line. We also have to take our time. We gave them too many possessions, nine turnovers, as well as overall they sped us up. What’s been our meat and potatoes is our inside play, and our guys really rose together, led by Hunter Dickinson.”
Dickinson, Michigan’s 7-foot-1 sophomore center, finished with 21 points and six rebounds as the Wolverines outscored the Rams 34-16 in the paint. The graduate student guard Eli Brooks added 16 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists, including a jumper to put Michigan up 70-60 with just under two minutes remaining.