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Michigan Basketball: 3 takeaways from Wolverines run to Final Four

26 March 2018

The Florida State Seminoles couldn't overcome a poor start to the second half as the Michigan Wolverines punched their ticket to the Final Four in a 58-54 win on Saturday in Los Angeles.

MI advanced to the Final Four Saturday night by grinding out a tough 58-54 victory over Florida State. The game will be on TBS.

The Seminoles were down four with 11 seconds to go, and the team didn't foul the Wolverines.

MI went to the free-throw line 15 times in the first half, making 11, while FSU was 5-for-5.

But the Seminoles pressure defense turned up the heat helping Forida State score 6 straight points trimming the MI lead to 40-36 with 10:00 remaining. The Wolverines led 38-28 with 13:50 to play.

That may be enough to carry them to a second national title in three season. This team is deep and versatile, and can play nearly any style that their opponent wants to go with. "We can't allow ourselves to get too ahead of ourselves", he said, following FSU's win over Gonzaga.

Yet, it didn't matter because the Wolverines' defense, led by sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson, was stellar at the perimeter. But Duncan Robinson's three with 2:21 to go was the dagger MI needed, putting the Wolverines up 10.

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FSU regrouped and opted to foul to send MI to the line. MI has now won 12 straight games while covering the spread in five of their last six games.

With ice in his veins, Robinson made both free throws. Butler also played in the Final Four in 2010, losing a close championship game to Duke in its own city of Indianapolis. Charles Matthews led the offensive charge with a 17 point effort to go with eight rebounds.

As it did in the round of 16, MI came out clicking, staking its claim to a 10-4 lead at the 16:48 mark when FSU's defense sagged off Abdur-Rahkman too much at the top of the arc and he connected from deep. Two nights after shooting lights out from three, MI struggled from long distance, hitting just 4-of-22 attempts. As for Florida State, their were led by 16 points and 11 rebounds from Phil Cofer.

The exchange begins around the 4 minute mark in the video below.

MI takes a 32-7 record into next Saturday's Final Four. The Wolverines are 23-12-1 against the spread on the season. Abdur-Rahkman answered with a contested triple, breaking a cold streak from long range, before Matthews regained the lead, 24-23, on a pair of freebies. Five other Seminoles finished with each six points to help the program move within one win of its first Final Four since 1972.

But Michigan would score only three more points - all on free throws - for a 27-26 halftime lead. But with no timeouts left, FSU failed to execute offensively and couldn't get a basket down by four points with under 20 seconds remaining.

Michigan Basketball: 3 takeaways from Wolverines run to Final Four