Michigan Basketball wins ugly against Florida, but is headed to Final Four

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Down 58-54 to MI with 11 seconds left Saturday in the Elite Eight matchup, Leonard Hamilton's Seminoles elected not to foul, conceding a game that was nearly certainly decided (if not completely decided).

Duncan Robinson had only seven points but his three-pointer from the corner gave MI a 10-point lead with 2:24 to play and his two free throws with 21 seconds left gave the Wolverines a four-point cushion.

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. U-M tried to drive and score, but the Seminoles erased five shots at the rim in the early going ... still, U-M took a 27-26 lead on two Wagner free throws with a minute remaining in the half.

It was a unusual way to accept defeat, especially because MI, which shot 16-of-24 free throws on the day, had missed several big ones down the stretch. And suddenly the Wolverines were ahead 38-28.

Florida State: The Seminoles' impressive March should turn plenty of recruits' heads as they continue to bury the myth that Florida State is a football school.

The third-seeded Wolverines and ninth-seeded Seminoles have combined for 24 turnovers in 30 minutes, and neither is shooting above 36 percent. They are what makes college basketball so special.

MI had developed a defense after years of offensive superiority. FSU committed 14 turnovers in the half, so the Seminoles were unable to take full advantage of their 42.9 shooting percentage. Yet Michigan could only manage one field goal of its own in the last 8:44 before halftime, also missing four free throws.

MI got out to a 10-4 lead with just over three minutes gone, and it appeared the Wolverines might be in for another high-scoring night.

It's why MI freshman Jordan Poole was counted on to hit a game-winning shot against Houston in the second round, and why he finished scoreless in two minutes of playing time against Florida State.

MI advances to face Loyola-Chicago, an underdog looking to write its own Cinderella story, in the Final Four.

Staples Center was largely packed with maize-and-blue fans of the Wolverines, who have a vast alumni base in California. You can't play defense any harder than the Seminoles did in holding a MI team coming off a 99-point game Thursday to just 58.

Florida State got it back down to three points and got Moe Wagner foul trouble.

But at the half, it was MI, 27-26. Even if you have to foul Robinson, who was the best free-throw shooter on the floor, at least you're making the other team earn it. "They must be a really good team, that's why they're in the Final Four, and that's all that matters". The 3rd-seeded Wolverines were the NCAA Tournament runner-ups in 2013 and will now be looking to get that first national title since 1989.

MI missed 1-of-5 free throws at one time in the final two minutes, but with around 30 seconds, Robinson made two clutch free throws to put UM back up five.

Instead, the Seminoles elected to foul Zavier Simpson, who until that moment was 3-for-6 from the line during that game, and a 51 percent foul shooter on the year.

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