The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (33-7) are headed to the national championship game for the first time in five years after beating the No. 11 Loyola-Chicago Ramblers (32-6) 69-57 on Saturday night in the Final Four.
Mo Wagner had 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds while going 10 of 16 on field goals. Charles Matthews had 17 points of his own.
Teams seeded 11th are now 0-4 in the Final Four. No team seeded lower than eighth has ever made it to the grand finale.
The two teams went into the matchup with the two longest active winning streaks in the country with the Wolverines having won 13 straight and the Ramblers having won 14 straight.
Zavier Simpson had a rough first nine minutes of the contest, committing three turnovers and a foul and going 0-3 from the field. The Wolverines had eight team turnovers in the first half.
Michigan couldn’t seem to get much going on offense, outside of Mo Wagner who had 11 points and 11 total rebounds in the first half. The maize and blue shot just 9 for 31 on field goals. Loyola-Chicago went into the half with a 29-22 lead after Donte Ingram made a layup less than a second before the buzzer.
The Ramblers were 24-0 when leading at halftime this season.
The Ramblers defense continued to stifle Michigan in the second half. Even when Michigan got looks, they just weren’t able to capitalize. However, the Wolverines started to heat up from beyond the arc and Zavier Simpson helped make some critical defensive stops. Eventually, the maize and blue took a 51-47 lead with 5:50 left.
The Wolverines went up by ten just before the two-minute mark and never let go en route to their 14th straight win, now the longest active winning streak in the NCAA.
The Wolverines will face either Villanova or Kansas at a time to be determined on Monday night with their first national championship since 1989 at stake.