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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Michigan wins West Regional, set to face off against Loyola in San Antonio

Michigan+forward+Moritz+Wagner+tries+to+set+up+defense+as+FSU+transitions+into+offense.
Photo by Photo by Cassie Stricker

Michigan forward Moritz Wagner tries to set up defense as FSU transitions into offense.

LOS ANGELES — With two minutes to go in the elite eight the Michigan bench began to celebrate their victory over Florida State to punch their ticket to San Antonio for the Final Four.
However, the game wasn’t over just yet. FSU would try and mount a comeback, coming within three points of the Wolverines with 24 seconds left on the clock. Senior Duncan Robinson put the game away for Michigan at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, in front the bench Michigan head coach John Beilien was pacing back and forth anxiously waiting for the buzzer to sound. After the game, Beilien said there were several times he got frustrated with his team for celebrating before the game was over.
“The game is a long way from being over,” Beilien said. “Earlier in the game, that’s when I was upset that they were celebrating. Leonard called the timeout, and it’s a long day from being over with all the games that I’ve coached. You don’t get into it too often up 10 with 2 to go and lose, but it happens. And this is not the day to do it.”
In the end, after he was doused by his players as he walked into the locker room Beilien said was able to relax and enjoy the win before preparing for Loyola–Chicago in the final four next Saturday. However, as the season begins to dwindle with the national championship game only about a week away, Beilien said he was glad to see his team enjoy the fruits of their labor.
“No, I didn’t. I went in there unarmed this time. I thought I was going to get water, instead I got a cooler over my head,” Belien said. “So it’s great. It’s great to see our kids celebrate like that. They work really hard for us, and we’re very demanding of them. I think they get a sense of they like to get back at the coaching staff. They got a lot of us, but I did get a cooler right over my head.”
Michigan will head to the Lone Star state to take on the Cinderella team of the 2018 edition of March Madness, No. 11-seed Loyola. Earlier in the day, the Ramblers beat Kansas State by 16 points to reach its first final four since 1963.
Loyola head coach Porter Moser will return to Texas for the first time since leaving his positon as an assistant coach at Texas A&M in 1996. Porter said his team never imagined becoming the Cinderella team of the tournament when they were named to the tournament, instead they just wanted to make the most out of the opportunity given to the Ramblers.
‘People asked me out there, did you ever think you were going to the Final Four? And to be honest with you, after Selection Sunday, we didn’t say, hey, let’s go to the Final Four. We said, what do we got to do to beat Miami, and then it was the next game, and then it was the next game,” Moser said.
The Ramblers held Kansas State to 68 points in their Elite Eight victory. On the other side of the match up Michigan scored 58 points. However, both teams scored over 304 points combined. Both Beilen and Porter said one of the fundamental aspects of their game plan is solid defense.
Cinderella or not, Michigan forward Mortiz Wagner said the Ramblers are in the Final Four for a reason and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
“I mean, to be honest with you, I don’t think any of us cares about rankings, seedings or none of that,” Wagner said. “It’s about who is going to play better. I think it’s Saturday, right? So that’s all that matters to us. We’ve got to prepare like we always do. They must be a really good team, that’s why they’re the Final Four, and that’s all that matters.”
Michigan and Loyola will face off in the Final Four next week in San Antonio.

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