The state of Michigan is excited about Sunday.
Michigan led by 10 points with 3 1/2 minutes left, but had to fend off a late charge by the Vols. Jordan Morgan was a big factor for John Beilein's team, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds while drawing a charge on Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes in the final seconds. That was a pivotal play in the contest.
Beilein got the most out of his team. Friday night, the Wolverines showed great balance as six players scored at least nine points. Guys like Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. performed well on the big stage.
Michigan has become deadly from beyond the arc. The Wolverines hit 7 of 9 trifectas in the first half to build an 11-point lead. Over the past two games, Michigan has made 25 3-pointers.
This Michigan team has come together as a unit after losing a pair of key players. Trey Burke went to the pros after last year's run to the national championship game. Mitch McGary, a preseason All-American, was out for most of the season with a back problem.
Now the Wolverines face a Kentucky team that has changed the way it is perceived in the past three weeks. The Wildcats were preseason favorites, but bumps in the road left Kentucky out of the final AP top 25 poll. John Calipari's team matured during the SEC tournament, pushing Florida to the wire in the title game.
Big Blue Nation is happy, but it would like one more win and a trip to the Final Four. Michigan stands in the way.
Michigan State has survived injury woes all season long. The Spartans are pretty healthy now, though Keith Appling has been playing tentatively and may be bothered by his wrist problems.
The Spartans will be tested by a Connecticut team that has caught fire. The Huskies got a big performance from DeAndre Daniels (27 points, 10 rebounds) in a win over Iowa State. Shabazz Napier has had a run similar to Kemba Walker's in 2011; can Connecticut ride his magic to the Final Four? Madison Square Garden will be rocking and rolling Sunday.
Michigan and Michigan State have survived adversity to get to this point. One more win and both will be rewarded with the Final Four.