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Michigan’s first Final Four since ‘Fab 5′ era
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 31, 2013 @ 5:00 pm In Wirenews | Comments Disabled
by Eric Prisbell, USA TODAY Sports
ARLINGTON, Texas — With long shorts, black socks and a fresh group of freshmen, Michigan is headed back to the Final Four for the first time in two decades.
After a stunning late-game rally in the Sweet 16, fourth-seeded Michigan ended much of the drama early Sunday, racing out to a 24-point lead en route to a 79-59 victory over third-seeded Florida in the South Regional final before an announced crowd of 36,585 at Cowboys Stadium.
Though the victory was more anticlimactic than the 10-point comeback in the final three minutes against top-seeded Kansas, it was equally impressive. Like the Jayhawks, the Gators had been one of the nation’s most stifling defensive teams. But that mattered little against the hot-shooting Wolverines and guard Nik Stauskas, who made all six of his three-point attempts in the first half.
Complementing what is arguably the nation’s best backcourt (Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr.) is a trio of three freshmen – Stauskas, ever-improving Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III – who have drawn natural comparisons to the more highly touted – and controversial – band of five freshmen who captivated the nation when they arrived in Ann Arbor in the fall of 1991.
Not only did Michigan reach consecutive national title games in 1992 and 1993, but the influential and infamous Fab Five transcended the sport. From their bald heads and baggy shorts to their brash, flamboyant demeanor, they ushered in the modern era of college basketball — and the sport has not seen anything like them since.
Both of those Final Four berths were vacated after a lengthy scandal that centered on Chris Webber accepting money from booster Ed Martin. The Wolverines shuffled through a couple coaches – Brian Ellerbe and Tommy Amaker – before finding the John Beilein, the man who would lead them to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1994.
Since leading West Virginia to an improbable berth in the 2005 Elite Eight, Beilein has carried the reputation as one of the sharpest offensive minds in the game. And Michigan’s impressive offensive precision and execution was on full display in the South Region against Kansas, the … [For more on Michigan reaches first Final Four since 'Fab 5' era with rout of Florida, click here.]
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