When shots aren't falling, MI knows it can rely on defense, discipline and tenacity.
Coach Leonard Hamilton's surprising Seminoles are trying to reach just the second Final Four in their school's history by knocking off four straight higher-seeded opponents. And by doing all the hard things, the Wolverines muscled their way to the Final Four. The Wolverines were able to say ahead with junior center Moe Wagner and sophomore point guard Zavier Simpson on the bench for several minutes with a foul each. Then Savoy hit three free throws to close it to 54-49 with 1:30 left.
When faced with Florida State's persistent defense, MI is finding it impossible to match its 99-point performance against Texas A&M two days earlier.
Never more so than in the first half when Florida State committed 14 of its total 15 turnovers for the game in trailing MI 27-26 at intermission.
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Matthews' triple made it 32-28, and the crowd came to life. Then, a couple of FSU treys trimmed the lead to three points. They also knew it didn't matter, because Florida State troubled the twine even less. "We did a great job on defense".
Hamilton would get a $275,000 bonus if Florida State defeats MI.
The exchange begins around the 4 minute mark in the video below. Robinson and Wagner were a combined 0-for-9.
It's been back-and-forth outside of the opening five minutes when FSU had trouble getting a feel for the game.
U-M missed several chances to put it away.
Matthews had a hoop that was clearly goaltended but wasn't called. MI was just a bit better down the stretch and came away with a 58-54 victory over FSU before a packed and very loud Staples Center. Abdur-Rahkman missed at the rim, but Teske scored in transition after a stop to make it 47-42.More news: Palestinian Teen Agrees To 8 Months In Prison After Slapping Israeli Soldier
Hamilton, who has a base salary of $2.3 million, has already earned $775,000 from Florida State's first Elite Eight appearance since 1993.
That added to the lead and when Duncan Robinson buried a corner three, his first triple of the night, the Wolverines were up 10 again.
MI got into a close one against the Seminoles, clinging to a 55-52 lead with 1:14 remaining.
FSU shot 42.9% from the floor in the first half, hitting nine of 21 attempted shots. Richardson made six of seven 3-pointers. There is no doubting the Loyola-Chicago deserves to be in this game, however, I think the Ramblers are going to have a bit of trouble on the offensive end against the Wolverines in this one and as I think John Beilein will have a solid game plan with a week of preparation for the MI offense, I'm taking MI to cover this spread.
MI last made the Final Four in 2013, when the Wolverines lost in the national title game to Louisville.More news: United States approves proposed $1bn arms sale to Saudi Arabia