Pat caputo – michigan vs. loyola, what college basketball should be all about

Michigan a team of destiny? No, it’s more like when all is said and done, and a new NCAA champion is crowned, the wolverines just might be the best team.

Michigan advanced to the final four saturday night by grinding out a tough 58-54 victory over florida state. No, it was not as awe-inspiring as their sweet 16 rout of texas A&M, but it better defined the wolverines.

Michigan didn’t shoot well, especially from 3-point range. The wolverines turned the ball over more than usual. There were times when florida state’s length was frustratingly bothersome. Moe wagner, michigan’s best player, picked up his fourth foul and was forced from the game with plenty of time remaining in the second half of a relatively close match.College basketball

Yet, it didn’t matter because the wolverines’ defense, led by sophomore point guard zavier simpson, was stellar at the perimeter. Florida state couldn’t do anything in the second half except take mostly out-of-control drives to the basket. And michigan didn’t allow second shots. Offensively, the wolverines made just enough plays to take control. This time it was charles matthews who picked up the slack with a clutch 17-point, 8-rebound effort.

Now loyola, and sister jean, that’s a team of destiny. Nobody could have anticipated michigan’s opponent in the final four saturday in san antonio.Michigan didn’t the wolverines shouldn’t underestimate the ramblers, though. They have defeated a more impressive slate of teams (ACC third-place team miami, SEC regular-season co-champ tennessee and mountain west champ nevada, a kansas state team that downed kentucky) than michigan in the tournament. Then again, the same could be said for florida state. Although just 9-9 during the ACC season, the seminoles beat a no.1-seed xavier and then gonzaga, which is always a tough out in the NCAA.

Michigan should beat loyola. This isn’t a fluke in any way. It might be tougher in the national championship game, but the wolverines have taken every type of blow imaginable and responded in the proper way.Michigan didn’t

In a season of college basketball riddled by scandal, michigan coach john beilein and his wolverines are a classic example of how to do it right. They have not done this with NBA lottery picks. It remains iffy whether wagner will even be selected in the first round, although it would seem foolish if some NBA team didn’t.

This is a likable squad, a group of solid college kids, who have melted together into the consummate team. They are not only a credit to the university they represent, but their state.

Certainly, a lot folks nationally will be rooting for the cinderella ride of loyola to continue.College basketball but regardless, it should be noted the wolverines have done everything correctly this season – win or lose at the final four.

It will a terrific game nonetheless because these two teams are what we want college basketball – and college sports in general – to be about.

Exceptional achievement, often against the odds, and above-board – not unseemly headlines. Loyola vs. Michigan is one of those games everybody is looking forward to, and for all the right reasons.