Michigan Wolverines Basketball: Five Takeaways From Michigan's Sweet 16 Win Over Florida State
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Fab Five Takeaways From Michigan's Sweet 16 Win Over Florida State

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Michigan Wolverines basketball is headed to its fourth Elite Eight in the last eight NCAA Tournaments and its 15th appearance in school history, after beating Florida State by a final score of 76-58 Sunday night at Banker's Life Fieldhouse.

Here are five takeaways from the game.

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Michigan Wolverines basketball sophomore Franz Wagner scored 13 points against Florida State.
Michigan Wolverines basketball sophomore Franz Wagner scored 13 points against Florida State. (AP Images)

1. Player of the game: Franz Wagner

Michigan sophomore wing Franz Wagner, who could very well be an NBA lottery pick this summer, embraced his matchup against FSU freshman guard Scottie Barnes, another tall, long, athletic player projected to be selected in the first round of the 2021 draft.

Barnes was held to just eight points on 4-of-11 shooting from the field. He turned it over three times and committed four fouls. Wagner’s one-on-one defense on him — and the other Seminoles he guarded — was fantastic, and it was a huge reason why Michigan was able to win going away.

Wagner had five points, six rebounds and three assists at halftime. He was under control, getting in the lane and finding his teammates. But he missed three open triple tries before halftime. He made the right decisions to take those shots from beyond the arc, but he didn’t want to leave it to chance in the second half, instead slashing and getting to the rim at will. If he had room to finish, he did. When he didn’t finish, he drew contact and went to the free throw line, nailing five of his six attempts from the charity stripe for the game. If the help over-pursued, he dropped it off to one of his teammates.

All in all, the German finished with 13 points, 10 boards and five assists. The Wolverines got nice contributions from freshman center Hunter Dickinson and junior forward Brandon Johns as well, and they were in consideration for player of the game honors, but Wagner was the catalyst on both ends.

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2. Michigan's offense put on a clinic

The Wolverines seem to have FSU’s number at this point. Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton runs a style of defense that is predicated largely on helping on drivers and trying to use his team’s length to highly contest all two-point shots — especially in the lane — and frustrate and smother opposing offenses.

But that played to the Wolverines’ advantage, due to a tremendous game plan by Howard and Co., and near-flawless execution by their players.

When FSU’s off-ball defenders turned their heads and bodies to help, Michigan’s cutters sprinted to the tin or spotted up for three. After penetrating the paint, the Wolverines’ ball-handlers would fine a man cutting or get it back out to the perimeter to swing it and make the FSU defense work.

Michigan head man Juwan Howard and Hamilton know each other well, with the former having played for the latter with the Washington Wizards in 2000-01. And Howard knew exactly how to slice and dice Hamilton’s defense Sunday night.

All told, Michigan shot 49 percent from the field — thanks in large part to some halftime adjustments against FSU’s switching defense that allowed the Wolverines to shoot 69.2 percent in the second half — and score 1.12 points per possession on the 31st-best defense in the country.

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