For the first time in more than three months, Mitch McGary was wearing a Michigan uniform during a game.

Just ahead of the Sweet 16 matchup against Tennessee, Michigan announced that McGary would dress for the game and participate in warm-ups but wouldn’t play.

McGary, a preseason All-America selection who played in just eight games this season, went through all the pregame drills after being out indefinitely since undergoing back surgery on Jan. 7.

“Pleased to see that Mitch McGary will join his teammates in warmups, but he WILL NOT play,” the team posted on its Twitter page about an hour before tip-off.

McGary also was listed in the official scorebook, which meant he was eligible to play but team officials indicated that he would not.

It turns out that the Wolverines didn’t need him, taking a 73-71 victory and advancing to the Elite Eight for the second straight season.

“He wanted to go there and his teammates wanted him there,” coach John Beilein said. “He’s jumping around in a suit and dress shoes and I thought it would be comfortable and good inspiration for the team.”

McGary averaged 9.5 points and 8.5 rebounds in eight games this season, after suffering a lower-back condition during the summer. He hasn’t played since the Dec. 14 loss to then-No. 1 Arizona.

During last season’s NCAA Tournament run to the final, McGary was a key contributor, as a freshman.
Irvin magic

Freshman Zak Irvin spurred the Michigan offense, hitting three 3-pointers.

He hit consecutive 3-pointers to turn a 21-20 deficit into a five-point lead at the 8:44 mark. His third came in the second half, boosting a 54-44 lead to a 13-point bulge.

“This is incredible for a kid to come off the bench and do this. He’s sharing time and looking for his opportunity,” Beilein said. “People are going to enjoy watching him at Michigan for many years to come.”

His height and defense also helped, giving Glenn Robinson III a break. But the hot shooting off the bench has been something of a secret weapon for Michigan.

“Being a coach all these years, you can have great shooters but when they can come off the bench and shoot like he does …” Beilein said. “If you look at our biggest wins this year, the road wins, he was a big part of almost all those because he comes off and hits two or three and at Minnesota he hits five.”

“It’s incredible what he’s been able to do with this team — and in limited minutes — and handle that personally. He’s Mr. Basketball in Indiana and he’s playing 12 minutes a game and he’s been great at handling that.”