NCAA Tournament: Michigan rides stingy defense to Final Four

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Dienhart: Michigan breezes into Elite Eight behind historic scoring burst

The Final Four? It couldn't have been further from the Wolverines' minds.

But that wasn't enough for the Seminoles, who were able to close a pair of 10-point second half deficits to two, 56-54, but could not get the ball to drop at the end.

The "Junkyard Defense" of Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton began to have its way with a series of blocks, three by Ike Obiagu, a 7-foot freshman from Nigeria, and steals. In fact, it might have been the ugliest win MI basketball got all season, but the NCAA Tournament isn't about style points - it's about winning. But look at the time situation.

The 11th-seeded Ramblers have earned a trip to San Antonio with a 78-62 victory over No. 9 Kansas State in the South Region final in Atlanta. MI used a 9-0 run to start the 2nd half to create some separation from the Seminoles and held off a late Florida State charge after taking a 54-44 lead with just 2:26 left in regulation.

"I'm more thinking about how important it would be for our student-athletes to enjoy that experience", Hamilton said.

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The interview followed on the heels of a series of freaky coaching decisions by Hamilton over the final 90 seconds - including fouling twice while trailing by three, and then opting to let the final 13 seconds run off the clock with his team only trailing by four.

The Noles rattled off a 7-0 run to take a lead and erase a six point Wolverine advantage.

"Normally when you hold a team to as low a shooting percentage and shoot it as well as we did, you're probably going into halftime a little up", Hamilton said. "They're a complete basketball team". I do understand the thinking behind it: It preserved clock, it put a lot of pressure on a bad free-throw shooter, and the end result - being down four with 40 seconds left - wasn't a disaster.

MI has a 40-36 lead on Florida State at the midway point of the second half at Staples Center, where the thousands of Wolverines fans are performing more impressively than either team on Saturday night.

Afterward Jacobson defended Hamilton and tweeted, "Coach Hamilton spoke to me minutes after an emotional @FSUHoops loss".

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Hamilton said he was "impacted by" the "intense rush of emotions in our locker room after the game". Here is the exchange, as transcribed by ASAP Sports. Did you want them to foul right away? He showed emotion & I appreciate him talking through it w/me instead of walking off. "We've grown so much as a team since then".

LEONARD HAMILTON: What we wanted - I don't remember exactly what the situation was to be very honest with you.

They figured out how to get to LA and the Elite Eight. Maybe a two-point game.

But I think that's what happened in that one particular situation that I have in my mind.

We started Unknown and finished Unforgettable.

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And thanks to online sports retailers Fanatics and FansEdge, you can now get the newest MI men's basketball Final Four gear, including shirts, hats, hoodies, and more.

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