No. 1 seed Michigan cruises to Elite Eight with dominant win over Florida State

Jason Owens
·2-min read

Michigan got bad news prior to Sunday's game against Florida State.

The news on the court was all good. The Wolverines cruised to a 76-58 win, riding a swarming defense to oust the Seminoles, a popular upset pick to advance deep into the NCAA tournament. Instead, the top-seeded Wolverines will advance to Tuesday's Elite Eight seeking their second Final Four berth in three tournaments after a surprise run to the national title game in 2018.

Livers is done for the season

They'll do so without All Big-Ten forward Isaiah Livers, whom head coach Juwan Howard confirmed to CBS will miss the rest of the NCAA tournament with a stress fracture in his right foot. The news is not unexpected, but there was an outside chance that Livers could return for later rounds of NCAA play after he aggravated the injury in the Big Ten tournament.

Mike Smith #12 of the Michigan Wolverines controls the ball against the Florida State Seminoles in the second half of their Sweet Sixteen round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on March 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Mike Smith and Michigan cruised past Florida State. (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Michigan continues to cruise without Livers

Michigan has thrived without Livers and had little trouble disposing of Florida State on Sunday. Its defense flustered FSU into 10 first-half turnovers and held the nation's 15th-best 3-point shooting arsenal (38.2%) at bay en route to a 32-21 halftime lead.

Florida State missed its first nine shots from 3-point distance, failing to connect from behind the arc until Malik Osborn ended the drought with 15:37 left in the second half. Another 3-pointer by Anthony Polite added up to a 6-0 FSU run and the Seminoles' biggest threat of the day, cutting their deficit to a manageable 41-36 margin.

Michigan thwarts late FSU run

But Michigan punched right back, reeling off a 9-3 run of its own to extend the lead back to 11 at 50-39. Florida State did not have another response. The Wolverines got a balanced effort on offense with Brandon Johns Jr. (14 points, rebounds), Hunter Dickinson (14 points, eight rebounds), Franz Wagner (13 points, 10 rebounds) and Chaundee Brown (12 points, three rebounds) all scoring in double figures.

Michigan held FSU to 40% shooting from the field and 5-of-20 (25%) from 3-point distance while winning the rebounding margin, 37-31 and the turnover battle 14-9.

With the win, Michigan advances to Tuesday's East region final, where it will face the winner of Sunday night's UCLA-Alabama game.

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