Michigan Wolverines vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Pick & Prediction MARCH 18th 2023

Stadium: Memorial Gym Nashville
Logo Michigan Wolverines
Logo Vanderbilt Commodores

148.5o -110
-3.5 -101



A spot in the NIT quarterfinals will be on the line Saturday afternoon when Kobe Bufkin, Dug McDaniel and No. 3 seed Michigan visit Tyrin Lawrence and No. 2 seed Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.

Bufkin tallied 23 points, eight rebounds and five assists for the Wolverines (18-15) in their 90-80 first-round win over Toledo on Tuesday. It was Bufkin's third showing of 23 points or more in his last five games, including a career-high 28 scored on Feb. 26 in an 87-79 overtime win over Wisconsin.

Joey Baker (21 points) was 5-for-7 from 3-point range, McDaniel went 4-for-6 and Bufkin added 3-for-6 shooting. McDaniel, a freshman, scored 16 points and added eight assists, one off his season high.

"My offense generates a lot of good things for our offense overall," McDaniel told reporters. "I looked back at last game (two points, three assists in a Big Ten tournament loss to Rutgers) and tried to make a lot of changes for this game."

The Wolverines played without guard Jett Howard, the son of coach Juwan Howard and a likely first-round NBA draft pick. His father said it was injury-related, not a lack of interest in the NIT.

"Jett has been part of the Howard DNA where he knows that he has a passion for the game of basketball," Juwan Howard said. "Since he was younger, when he got injured, he always picked himself up and continued to keep competing. ... He went and saw a foot and ankle specialist and, as of right now, we're going to look at this thing day-to-day, let him heal and then we'll see and go from there. He wanted to be out there for his teammates today. He was emotional, too. Very emotional that he didn't play today."

Michigan Wolverines

The Commodores (21-14) have a difference-making guard of their own in the form of Lawrence, who dropped a career-high 25 points, including 16 in the second half, in Vanderbilt's 71-62 first-round victory over Yale.

Teammate Ezra Manjon, also a guard, added 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

Like Michigan and most other top seeds in the NIT, Vanderbilt was motivated by a perceived snub from the NCAA Tournament.

"Obviously, we felt like we were a tournament team," Manjon said, per The Tennessean. "And, like, this is our time to prove it."

The programs are meeting for the first time since 2003. Michigan is 6-2 all-time against Vanderbilt but 2-2 at Memorial Gymnasium.

Both schools have won the NIT before -- Michigan in 2004 and 1984, Vanderbilt in 1990.

--Field Level Media

Michigan Wolverines
Vanderbilt Commodores

Michigan Wolverines vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Recap MAR 18TH 2023

Tyrin Lawrence scored 17 of his 24 points in the second half and led second-seeded Vanderbilt on a game-ending 9-0 run to stun third-seeded Michigan 66-65 in the second round of the NIT Saturday in Nashville, Tenn.

With 12 seconds left, Lawrence earned the game-winning points for the hosts on a goaltending call on Michigan center Hunter Dickinson. Dickinson blocked Lawrence's shot high off the glass but illegally grasped the net to support himself.

Vanderbilt (22-14) will host either fourth-seeded UAB or Morehead State, who play Sunday, in the NIT quarterfinals.

One game after setting a career high of 25 points against Yale, Lawrence was the hero for the Commodores again, adding nine rebounds to his ledger. Ezra Manjon scored 17 points and Colin Smith added 11, all in the first half.

Dickinson led Michigan (18-16) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, Dug McDaniel had 19 points and Joey Baker scored 11.

Lawrence twice cut Vanderbilt's deficit to five, including at 5:09 with a layup and foul shot. Baker made an open shot in transition that was originally scored as a 3-pointer, however it was changed retroactively to a 2 because his foot was on the line.

Trey Thomas' 3-pointer trimmed the Commodores' deficit to 61-57 with less than four minutes left, but McDaniel and Baker got baskets sandwiched around a Vanderbilt offensive foul to make it an eight-point game with 1:45 remaining.

Lawrence converted another three-point play and nine seconds later Manjon got a steal and was sent to the line, where he cut it to 65-62.

McDaniel got through Vandy's press and past the half-court line but then threw a lob pass out of bounds. Manjon was able to drive for a layup to cut it to 65-64.

Michigan again was stymied by Vanderbilt's press, as the ensuing inbounds pass went off the hands of Terrance Williams II. Lawrence wound up with the ball and tried a layup, which the 7-foot-2 Dickinson blocked cleanly before getting whistled for grabbing the net.

Michigan played without two starting guards and potential first-round NBA draft picks. Jett Howard missed his second straight game and Kobe Bufkin also sat out, both nursing ankle injuries.

Vanderbilt rattled off a 17-0 run early in the game, featuring three open looks from the arc for Smith. Williams and McDaniel responded for the Wolverines by accounting for all 15 points of a 15-3 stretch. McDaniel's consecutive 3-pointers 43 seconds apart tied the game 20-20 with 9:21 left in the half.

Michigan regained the lead at 6:58 on Williams' two free throws. The lead changed hands four more times before halftime, with Dickinson's bucket making it 30-29 Michigan at the break.

The Commodores struggled to stop Dickinson, who made his first six shot attempts of the second half to help Michigan lead by as many as 10.

--Field Level Media