NCAA Tournament 2018: Michigan to play Florida State in Elite Eight

Michigan will face Florida State in the Elite Eight Saturday at Staples Center in Los Angeles. The winner advances on to play in the Final Four next weekend in San Antonio against the winner of the South Region.

The game will tip at 8:49 p.m. ET on TBS.

Michigan, the No. 3 seed, beat No. 7 Texas A&M 99-72 in the first semifinal game Thursday to improve to 31-7 this season. No. 9 Florida State (23-11) followed by beating No. 4 Gonzaga. That win ended Gonzaga’s hopes of a second straight Final Four appearance after it lost to North Carolina in the national title game last season. Florida State is playing in the Elite Eight for the first time since losing to Kentucky 106-81 in 1993, and the Seminoles haven’t been to a Final Four since losing to UCLA in the 1972 title game. This will be Michigan’s third Elite Eight appearance since 2013. It last played in the Final Four that same season, falling to Louisville in the championship game. [The NCAA has since vacated the title due to sanctions against Louisville.]

This will be the fourth game between the two programs and the third time they’ve met in a postseason tournament. Michigan holds a 2-1 series edge, winning the last game 82-80 in overtime at the Puerto Rico Tip Off on Nov. 22, 2013. The other two games were played in the NIT. Florida State won 87-66 in the second round in Tallahassee in 2007, while the Wolverines won the 1997 NIT championship with an 82-73 victory against the Seminoles.

Florida State finished 9-9 in the ACC, tied with Louisville for eighth place. The Seminoles lost two of three meetings with Louisville, including in the ACC Tournament, but got into the NCAA Tournament while the Cardinals did not. This is the program’s 16th NCAA Tournament appearance.

The Seminoles have three players averaging double figures in scoring, led by 6-foot-8 senior forward Phil Cofer at 13.0 points per game. Junior 6-6 guard Terance Mann is averaging 12.8 points, while senior 6-6 guard Braian Angola is averaging 12.7 points. Sophomore guard Trent Forrest is averaging 3.8 assists per game and he was a catalyst in Florida State’s comeback win against top-seeded Xavier in the second round. He scored 14 points, grabbled 5 rebounds, had 4 steals and 3 assists in the 75-70 victory.

Michigan’s defense was No. 3 in the country by the efficiency ratings entering the Sweet 16, allowing 91.6 points per every 100 possessions, but it will be tested against Florida State’s offense. The Seminoles average 81.1 points per game. They are No. 34 in KenPom’s offensive efficiency ratings averaging 115.1 points per 100 possessions.

Florida State’s defense is No. 54 in the KenPom ratings, giving up 98.4 points per 100 possessions, but it is averaging 5.2 blocks per game.

Michigan has won 12 in row since losing 61-52 at Northwestern on Feb. 6. The streak includes wins against Purdue, Michigan State and Ohio State. The Wolverines beat No. 14 Montana 64-50 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament and then got by No. 6 Houston 64-63 on Jordan Poole’s buzzer-beating 3-point shot.

Florida State was a bubble team leading up to the tournament. It started the season 9-0, including beating Rutgers in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge and rival Florida. Its only loss to an non-ACC team came against Oklahoma State, 71-70, on December 16. The Seminoles lost two of their final three games in the regular, and the ACC Tournament opener against Louisville but have since knocked off Missouri, Xavier and Gonzaga to reach the Elite Eight.

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