Loyola - Chicago vs. Michigan, 3-31-2018 - Expert Prediction

Leonard Hamilton Leonard Hamilton fsu

Hamilton’s coaching resume was jam packed – even before he got to Florida State

The Seminoles were down four with 11 seconds to go, and the team didn't foul the Wolverines.

When CBS Sports sideline reporter Dana Jacobson asked about the team's decision not to foul, Hamilton first seemed incredulous when saying, "The game was over".

Jacobson added herself that she was grateful Hamilton came around to answer the question rather than walk away from the interview.

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. The region turned out to be the most chaotic of a wild 2018 Big Dance, with its top seed, Virginia, suffering a historic first-round defeat at the hands of UMBC, while the No. 2 seed, Cincinnati, was upset by Nevada in the second round, blowing a 22-point second-half lead.

With 24 seconds remaining, No. 9 seed FSU challenged No. 3 seed MI to overcome its free-throw shooting woes to punch its ticket to the Final Four.

It's why the Wolverines were able to gut out a 58-54 win against Florida State in a defensive struggle Saturday night, just as they were able to have five players in double figures two nights prior in a rout against Texas A&M. Yet Michigan could only manage one field goal of its own in the last 8:44 before halftime, also missing four free throws.

Ask five players on the MI team what has changed since that trip to Chicago and you'll get different answers: toughness, focus, defense, being able to switch correctly on ball screens.

But that was enough as the Seminoles, in dropping a 58-54 season-ender, could not get the ball to drop at the end.

In the other regional final Saturday, third-seeded MI plays ninth-seeded Florida State in the West Region in Los Angeles.

With tenacious defense and just enough made free throws down the stretch, MI hung on and advanced to San Antonio, Texas, next weekend to face the underdog heroes of Loyola-Chicago (32-5), who stunned the sport by winning the South Region.

I normally wouldn't believe it, but after that interview who the hell knows. "They're a really good team", he said.

Staples Center was largely packed with maize-and-blue fans of the Wolverines, who have a vast alumni base in California.

MI coach John Beilein predicted a major advantage for his team, and he was proven correct. The crowd included Rudy Tomjanovich, the MI alumnus and former Lakers coach, who watched in Wolverines gear near courtside. The three wins have netted an additional $525,000 as the Seminoles defeated Missouri in the first round ($50,000), Xavier in the second ($225,000) and Gonzaga in the regional semifinal ($250,000). They are now scoring an average of 72 points, ranking them 225th overall. "We did a great job on defense".

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