Sports

MI looks to defend against upset in Final Four

MI looks to defend against upset in Final Four

Senior forward Phil Cofer led the Seminoles with 16 points and 11 rebounds in the loss. Loyola vs. MI is one of those games everybody is looking forward to, and for all the right reasons. After making almost 62 percent of their shots against the Aggies, the Wolverines are only 7 for 21 against the Seminoles.

Duncan Robinson capped the key run with a 3-pointer from the right corner with 2:22 left that gave MI a 54-44 lead.

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?"

MI last made the Final Four in 2013, when the Wolverines lost in the national title game to Louisville.

MI was given a third sed in the West Region, which was filled with upsets.

FSU used a balanced attack, stifling defensive pressure and overall athleticism to dominate Gonzaga on Thursday to reach the Elite Eight, but it was Michigan's elite defense that frustrated the Seminoles for long stretches Saturday. MI jumped to an early lead, but Florida State rallied back with a 10-3 surge to a two-point lead midway through the first half.

Down 58-54 to MI with 11 seconds left Saturday in the Elite Eight matchup, Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles elected not to foul, conceding a game that was nearly certainly decided (if not completely decided).

"Even though we were getting good stops, we couldn't get into our offensive flow because they were doing a good job defensively", Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton said.

He received a $200,000 bonus when the Seminoles made the 68-team field and an additional $50,000 for consecutive appearances. The Ramblers beat Cincinnati, which had three black starters, in the national championship game.

It was a disappointing defeat, sure, but it wasn't necessarily too surprising, because at the time, MI simply wasn't that good.

Celebrate LUC's latest on-court feat with a brand new piece of Ramblers merchandise, like a shirt, hoodie, or hat, and be ready to cheer them on in the National Semifinals, which will be held Saturday, March 31, at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

Ask five players on the MI team what has changed since that trip to Chicago and you'll get different answers: toughness, focus, defense, being able to switch correctly on ball screens. Ben Richardson came through with his best game of the season, sinking 23 points on a sparkling 6 for 7 performance from beyond the arc.

That doesn't mean it was an easy win, as it appeared when Robinson buried a 3-pointer in front of Michigan's bench with 2:14 remaining.

The Final Four? It couldn't have been further from the Wolverines' minds.

"We take pride in our defense, so we believe in ourselves", said MI guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rakhman, who scored nine points on 3-of-9 shooting.

As the No. 11 seed, Loyola matches the lowest seed to play in the Final Four.


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