For the first time in five years, the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (32-7) are headed to the Final Four after beating the No. 9 Florida state Seminoles (23-12) 58-54 on Saturday night in Los Angeles in the West Regional Final.
Charles Matthews led the team with 17 points and eight rebounds. Zavier Simpson had nine points and five assists and three steals.
John Beilein’s teams have always had trouble with physical teams like the Seminoles, but this time they were finally able to break through en route to their program-record 32nd win of the season.
The Seminoles started off using a full-court press against the Wolverines, forcing several turnovers, blocking five shots and messing with Michigan’s offensive game plan, especially their three-point shooting. Both teams had nine turnovers in the first eight minutes.
Michigan only turns the ball over 9.5 times a game, second fewest in the NCAA. In the first half alone, they turned it over eight times. However, they were able to go into halftime with a 27-26 lead thanks to making 11 of 15 free throws and 14 FSU turnovers.
In the second half the Wolverines started clicking and took a 38-28 lead with 14:36 left. However, the Seminoles would cut down on that lead courtesy of a lot of Michigan fouls. The maize and blue would then take a 54-44 lead with 2:15 left on a Duncan Robinson three-point shot.
The Seminoles then began to foul the maize and blue in hopes of taking advantage of their bad free-throw shooting. They made it a two-point game with 20 seconds left. Duncan Robinson would made two free throws and P.J. Savoy’s three-point heave fell short and sent the Wolverines to San Antonio.
The Wolverines will now face the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, the champions of the South region, at a time to be determined next Saturday.