Michigan, Loyola in Final Four; bluebloods next

26 March, 2018, 01:37 | Author: Clint Gray
  • Florida State rally falls short, Michigan advances to Final Four

"Nobody knew who this team was coming into the season", said Associate Head Coach Stan Jones.

As for his own team, "If we had made those layups. we must have missed four or five point-blank layups and they had just as hard shots at the other end".

Florida State managed only two points in a 10 ½-minute stretch spanning halftime, and MI took a 10-point lead before Cofer led the Seminoles back into it.

The third-seeded Wolverines held the ninth-seeded Seminoles scoreless for the final 4 1/2 minutes of the half.

The Wolverines (32-7) have tamped down three consecutive teams with designs on pulling surprises - No. 6 seed Houston, No. 7 Texas A&M and No. 9 Florida State. Yet Michigan could only manage one field goal of its own in the last 8:44 before halftime, also missing four free throws.

Florida State's relentless defense forced seven turnovers in the first 16:04. After making almost 62 percent of their shots against the Aggies, the Wolverines are only 7 for 21 against the Seminoles.

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But Duncan Robinson's three with 2:21 to go was the dagger MI needed, putting the Wolverines up 10.

But that didn't work out, and Hamilton's response to Jacobsen after the game makes you wonder if he didn't get things a little scrambled up in his mind during the game's final minute. That spurt put UM up 38-28 about midway through the second half.

Neither team looked very good in the first half, though. Sure, they won the Big Ten, have won a school record number of games and have earned their spot in the national semifinals, but they are by no means a mismatch for Loyola-Chicago. Loyola has a 10-man rotation, and a different player has led the Ramblers in scoring in each NCAA tournament game.

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With tenacious defense and just enough made free throws down the stretch, MI hung on and advanced to San Antonio, Texas, next weekend to face the underdog heroes of Loyola-Chicago (32-5), who stunned the sport by winning the South Region. He added a team-leading eight rebounds. If we fouled them, they'd be up four and we'd come down and we still would not be able to win the game.

But this isn't any ordinary 11 seed.

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Loyola, looking to extend its 13-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation, has answered every challenge from the Wildcats.

Leonard Hamilton didn't want to address why he opted not to foul at the end of Saturday's game.

. Neither team shot well, both turned it over too much, there were a lot of fouls and there was never really any decent flow in the game. So we're ... basically going up against Loyola of Chicago and Sister Jean.

After the game, CBS sideline reporter Dana Jacobson asked Hamilton a perfectly legitimate question: "In the final seconds of this game, why didn't you guys foul?"

Wichita State of the Missouri Valley made it in 2013.

Watch the Game Highlights from Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida State Seminoles.

Time to punch the first two tickets to the Final Four. "Growing up, I've watched this tournament ever since I can remember, just thinking about what it would be like to go to the Final Four and the national championship".

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