Loyola Chicago v. Michigan (Final Four)

Loyola Chicago v. Michigan (Final Four)

"They capitalized on that run where we made six turnovers in a row".

Sister Jean has been such a positive force during this tournament that positivity rang to her team in the AlamoDome. "Because they're switching, we said, 'Moe, you've just got to roll more, slip more, and get down there and clean up any rebounds you can get, because they've got a 6-foot guy on you, '" Beilein said. Michigan's Moritz Wagner, a junior from Berlin who speaks fluent offense, finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds. Matthews, the Kentucky transfer and Chicago native, had a run-out dunk with 1:33 left that made it 63-53.

"Wow. If you put it like that, it's probably cool", Wagner said. He did his thing, had a double-double in the first half. Villanova won by a 95-79 final score, and due to the Wildcats' three-point barrage it can be argued that the game wasn't as close as the final margin would indicate.

".I honestly just tried to do my job".

Or, as MI guard Jaaron Simmon, put it: "He was a beast tonight". The Ramblers went more than 5½ minutes without scoring, and 7:39 without making a field goal.

It was a full night. MI trailed 29-22 at the half, and Wagner had exactly half of his team's points and more than half of its total rebounds.

Cameron Krutwig led Loyola (32-6) with 17 points.

These performances were what kept MI basketball from being the first team to lose to a double-digit seed in a Final Four game ever. But facing one of the best defensive teams in the country, the Ramblers scored just 16 points over the final 14 minutes. And I want them to enjoy it.

Loyola's recruits for next season are ranked as three-star players: 6-9 center Franklin Agunanne from La Lumiere in IN, 6-3 shooting guard Cooper Kaifes from Kansas and 6-2 point guard Isaiah Bujdoso from Washington. That's three returning starters and four players who averaged at least 20 minutes and four points per game.

Robinson's 3-pointer with 10:19 left made it 45-42 and gave Robinson six points.

"Not dropping our heads, that was the main thing", Simmons said.

It's the 26th time a team from the Big Ten Conference has reached the national championship game - the most by any conference. "So not dropping our heads was one of the main adjustments we had to make".

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In the second half, Michigan's depth and productivity overwhelmed the Ramblers, who committed 11 turnovers after the intermission.

But after Loyola took a 41-31 lead with 14:10 to play, the momentum shifted toward MI.

Peter noted "dozens of reporters crammed into a room for a specially scheduled interview session with Sister Jean" on Friday during media sessions for the Final Four.

" I'm very proud of them and I'm very happy to say that we made it this far", says Loyola freshman Karrington Jones. "I love that guy to death, and we'll never forget this". "I think a lot of people will remember this run for a long time".

MI has more work to do.

MI will be seeking its second title on Monday, having beaten Seton Hall in 1989.

"This team's had no attention at all", Beilein said. "We weren't going to bend on the academic reputation", he said.

Villanova plays Kansas on Saturday night in the second semifinal.

Once Loyola Chicago finished reestablishing on Saturday that its surge to the Final Four had happened because of polished, airtight merit, MI finished chasing down Loyola Chicago. Totals 22-51 12-14 57.

But Michigan answered with a 17-2 run to take control of the game. MI and Loyola exchanged baskets, with the Wolverines unable to carve into the deficit. It made two of its first 10 shots, had three guarded layups roll off and adjourned to Porter's timeout seven-plus minutes into the game.

His performance highlighted the Ramblers' quiet 10-for-24 first-half shooting performance from the field, as well as 9-for-10 from the free throw line.

Loyola and MI play Saturday night in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament.

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