Florida State rally falls short, MI advances to Final Four

Posted March 26, 2018

After needing a miraculous Jordan Poole buzzer-beater to take down Houston in the second round, MI resumed looking like the team that won the Big Ten tournament during a 99-72 curb-stomping of Texas A&M.

The #11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers will aim for another upset win when they take on the #3 Michigan Wolverines in the Final Four round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday evening from the Alamodome in San Antonio.

FSU (23-12) has not advanced to the Final Four since 1972.

In his defense, the Seminoles shot just 32.0 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Wolverine guard Charles Matthews hit timely shots down the stretch finishing with 17 points and 8 rebounds.

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And on Sunday, in their 71-59 win over Texas Tech, the Wildcats shot the ball like a Church League team playing on a Sunday morning after a three-day bender than the team sitting atop KenPom's rankings and heading to their second Final Four in the last three years.

Zavier Simpson hit one of two free throws with 40 seconds left and Cofer got a tip-in with 22 seconds left to make it a two-point game at 56-54. A Phil Cofer transition dunk capped a late 8-2 Florida State surge that expanded the gap back to double digits and drained any drama from the game. The Wolverines forced Florida State into 15 turnovers, and scored 12 points off those takeaways.

Savoy trimmed the Wolverines' lead to 55-52 on a 3-pointer with 1:17 to play.

MI is set to play Loyola-Chicago in the Final Four on Saturday night.

Ben Richardson made three 3s and had 11 points in the half for the Ramblers, who are attempting to advance to their first Final Four since winning the 1963 championship. Then again, the same could be said for Florida State. He did manage five free throws, the last two restoring Michigan's lead, 27-26, entering the break. "They're a really good team", he said.

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MI got into a close one against the Seminoles, clinging to a 55-52 lead with 1:14 remaining.

"I hope that my reward would be to see the smiles on their face and hear their tone of voice and the excitement in it if we can win this game tomorrow", he said.

MI also outscored FSU 28-20 in the paint.

For much of the season, the Wolverines have leaned on their defense, which is one of the most efficient in the country.

Loyola-Chicago could join the great underdog programs to make the Final Four in the past 10 years.

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Whereas the Wolvernes shot 58.3 percent from 3-point range in their win over Texas A&M two nights earlier, they shot just 20 percent (2 of 10) from distance in the first 20 minutes as the Seminoles made it much more hard to get clean looks, seemingly creating a rhythm issue.