This year's NCAA Tournament has been one for the history books and both the Michigan Wolverines and Florida State Seminoles have already secured their place in it. Michigan is still riding high following Jordan Poole's buzzer-beater to beat Houston and a blowout win over Texas A&M, while Florida State has knocked off top-seeded Xavier and fourth-seeded Gonzaga to reach the Elite Eight.
Which of these teams will earn a trip to San Antonio and the Final Four? Here's our full preview and prediction:
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When: 8:49 p.m. EST
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Spread: Michigan (-4.5)
Projected Starting Lineups
(3) Michigan Wolverines (31-7, 13-5 in Big Ten)
G Zavier Simpson (So.) – 7.4 ppg, 3.7 apg
G Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (Sr.) – 12.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg
G Charles Matthews (Jr.) – 12.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg
F Isaiah Livers (Fr.) – 3.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg
F Moritz Wagner (Jr.) – 14.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
(9) Florida State Seminoles (23-11, 9-9 in ACC)
G C.J. Walker (So.) – 8.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
G Braian Angola (Sr.) – 12.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg
G Terance Mann (Jr.) – 12.9 ppg, 5.5 rpg
F Phil Cofer (Sr.) – 12.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg
C Christ Koumadje (Jr.) – 6.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg
What they're saying about the Michigan Wolverines:
March Madness Highlights: Top 10 Buzzer-Beaters In NCAA Tournament History (Chat Sports)
UM’s Zavier Simpson delivers latest defensive gem (Detroit Free Press)
'We were due for one': Michigan's offense explodes in Hollywood (MLive)
What they're saying about the Florida State Seminoles:
Basketball Observations: FSU overwhelms Gonzaga, earns dominating Sweet 16 win (Tomahawk Nation)
FSU Basketball: Noles crush Gonzaga to reach Elite 8 (Fansided)
Inside the box score: FSU 75, Gonzaga 60 (Tomahawk Nation)
Keys to the game:
Will Michigan continue their hot shooting?
Michigan's first weekend of the tournament was marred with the team's two lowest point totals (61 points vs. Montana and the 64 vs. Houston) since their Feb. 6 loss to Northwestern - which is also the last time the Wolverines lost. Michigan's offense then exploded against Texas A&M, shooting 61.9 percent from the field and draining 14 three-pointers.
Obviously, it's impossible to expect the Wolverines to duplicate that effort, but Michigan does shoot 48 percent from the field on the season. Their offense has been playing at a very high level since that loss to Northwestern and continuing to execute at a high level is the key to them reaching the Final Four - especially against a team with as much size as Florida State.
Can Florida State continue to get contributions from everyone?
Florida State is one of the most puzzling teams in the tournament this year. They were 4-6 in their last 10 games heading into the Big Dance and don't have any one thing they do particularly well. However, they've managed to make it to the Elite Eight.
How have they managed to do so? An extremely balanced attack. The Noles had 10 different players score against Missouri, had five players reach double figures against Xavier, and had 11 players score against Gonzaga. I have my doubts about this team, but if they can continue to play as a team and get contributions from everyone, there's a chance they can continue their run.
Prediction: Michigan wins 84-69
Florida State's Cinderella run will come to an end in this game. Even if Michigan's shooting is bothered by FSU's length, the Noles simply don't have the offensive firepower to consistently have success against Michigan's excellent defense. The Seminoles will hang around but I think the Wolverines will win comfortably.