The handshake line is where Michigan coach Juwan Howard got himself into trouble earlier this season after swinging at Wisconsin coach Greg Gard following a loss and subsequently earning a five-game suspension. However, in a fun March Madness twist, the handshake line is where Howard on Saturday made news for all the right reasons.
After his 11th-seeded Wolverines took down No. 3 seed Tennessee in one of the biggest upsets of the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament, Howard met an emotional Kennedy Chandler in the handshake line, and the Vols star shared a long embrace with Howard in a touching moment caught on camera.
Chandler, a former five-star recruit and freshman, had one of the best games of his career against the Wolverines, turning in 19 points and nine assists in the losing effort. He carried the Vols on offense and did an incredible job on defense as well. His performance at one point had the Vols up six with under nine to play before Michigan took control late.
“Kennedy is a special, special player, one of the best point guards in college basketball, in my opinion,” Howard said Friday ahead of the second-round game. “He’s a high IQ player, he has the same face. I call it the Kawhi Leonard or the Tim Duncan face. He never seems to get rattled or frustrated, from what I’ve noticed. I’ve been impressed with how he’s mentally stable when things are going good or bad.”
Michigan with the win advances to its fifth consecutive Sweet 16 in the last five NCAA Tournaments and will face either Villanova or Ohio State next week.