Florida State inexplicably declines to foul late in game

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The West Region final might be going down to the wire.

Florida State head coach Leonard Hamilton might be the only person in the world who thinks his team did not need to foul in the final seconds of Saturday's 58-54 loss to MI in the Elite Eight. Just when it seemed MI would break free, on came the Seminoles with a 9-2 run to get within three at 40-37 on Phil Cofer's three-point play with 10 minutes left. Michigan's biggest lead was 10 points with 2:21 left in the second half, but the Seminoles scored the next seven points and had a chance to tie it.

Leonard Hamilton struggled to explain his team's loss.

Browse the Michigan Wolverines team store at Fanatics here.

The third-seeded Wolverines held the ninth-seeded Seminoles scoreless for the final 4 1/2 minutes of the half.

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. 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. The Seminoles shot 31.4 percent, just 23.5 percent (4 of 17) from deep.

The Ramblers will never tell you they would have preferred to face MI, but it may be a more favorable opponent for them.

Two transition buckets pushed it to 38-28 at 14:30, and the Staples Center exploded, forcing another Florida State timeout.

It was a worthwhile question, one broadcasters and fans were asking themselves as the final seconds melted away, and with them any hope of a miraculous Seminoles comeback. Sure, they won the Big Ten, have won a school record number of games and have earned their spot in the national semifinals, but they are by no means a mismatch for Loyola-Chicago.

Hamilton would get a $275,000 bonus if Florida State defeats MI.

So, obviously, there is a chance MI scores two or three, instead of one, on that possession. Loyola has a 10-man rotation, and a different player has led the Ramblers in scoring in each NCAA tournament game.

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Ben Richardson was the offensive catalyst for Loyola as he shot 6-for-7 from 3-point range and finished with 23 points. He added a team-leading eight rebounds.

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. Louisiana State (1986), George Mason (2006) and VCU (2011) also were No. 11 seeds.

It's also worth noting here that MI had missed four of the eight free-throws it had attempted in the game's final two minutes, and was just 16-of-24 (66.7 percent) from the charity stripe for the evening.

Loyola, looking to extend its 13-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the nation, has answered every challenge from the Wildcats. That game is set for next Saturday night.

Xavier Sneed has eight points for Kansas State, which is looking for its first Final Four berth since 1964.

As it turned out, neither team shot well, and both played strong defense.

The sweatshirt, which is made of 80 percent cotton and 20 percent polyester, features a hood with drawstrings, a front pouch pocket, and screen print graphics, including the Final Four logo. There were multiple times late in the second half where the Seminoles appeared to be buried, and each one of those times they fought back and got themselves into a one possession game.

Wichita State of the Missouri Valley made it in 2013.

"Sister Jean? Sister Jean's a problem", Livers laughed after MI (32-7) dispatched Florida State 58-54 to win the West Regional.

Time to punch the first two tickets to the Final Four.

3-seed MI and 9-seed Florida State battled back and forth throughout the contest, but the Wolverines outlasted the Seminoles 58-54.

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