College basketball players and programs hope they improve through the season and peak at this time of the year when it matters most, March.
A few players getting hot could result in a team to make a deep run like we saw last year with Michigan making the 2018 National Championship game. A huge reason for that amazing run was the performance by Charles Matthews.
Last year, the NCAA Tournament started off for Michigan with the same opponent as last night, Montana. Charles Matthews started on a hot steak that did not end until the 2018 National Championship game.
Fast forward to today.
After being out with an ankle injury near the the end of this regular season, Charles Matthews started the 2019 NCAA Tournament with a huge performance last night and his best in nearly a month. He ended the game with 20 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes.
He was able to play in the Big Ten Tournament, but limited with 15 points on 16 attempts in 69 minutes. It was not the ideal situation due to three games in three days, so this break before last night was in his favor.
When asked, Matthews explained his approach on the return. “I don’t care about anybody else’s expectations, as long as my teammates and coaches weren’t pressuring me, I knew I was able to take my time (recovering). I wasn’t trying to force anything in that Big Ten tournament, I wasn’t trying to set the world on fire.”
This outstanding performance is just what Michigan needed and fans hope it continues.
The Matthews Mode in March Breakdown
Let’s dive in to his performance last year, how it compares to this season, and his overall career at Michigan:
2018 NCAA Tournament 2018 NCAA Tournament
Round of 64
Stats: 20 points (53.8% shooting), 11 rebounds
Round of 32
Stats: 11 points (50% shooting)
Opponent: Texas A&M
Stats: 18 points (87.5% shooting), 5 rebounds
Opponent: Florida State
Stats: 17 points (55.6%), 8 rebounds
Opponent: Loyola (IL)
Stats: 17 points (60% shooting), 5 rebounds
Stats: 6 points (42.9% shooting), 3 rebounds
2018 Tournament Stats (Ave. per game)
Big Ten Tournament: 10 points, 4.75 rebounds
NCAA: 16.6 points (before National Championship game), 14.83 overall for entire six games
2019 Season Stats
Games played: 32
Per game average: 12.3 points (43.5% shooting), 5 rebounds
Michigan career stats
Games played: 73
Per game average: 12.7 (46.8% shooting), 5.3 rebounds
His performance, when healthy, has peaked in the NCAA Tournament when it matters, and if he can continue this average around 15 points per game, it may just excel the Wolverines for another deep run.
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