James Hawkins of The Detroit News breaks down Saturday’s Elite Eight NCAA Tournament game between Michigan and Florida State (8:49 p.m., TBS/950).
Florida State rolls out a three-guard lineup with sophomore CJ Walker at the point flanked by junior Terance Mann and senior Braian Angola-Rodas. Mann is the team’s leading scorer at 12.9 points per game and has been efficient in Florida State’s back-to-back upsets over No. 1 seed Xavier and No. 4 Gonzaga with 28 total points on 66.7 percent (12-for-18) shooting. Angola-Rodas does most of his damage from beyond the arc and is averaging roughly two made 3-pointers per game, while Walker is the facilitator who has only been averaging 13 minutes per game in the tournament. Michigan’s Zavier Simpson continues to clamp down on whoever lines up across from him and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman is coming off a stat-stuffing performance with 24 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Charles Matthews has quietly been the team’s best player in the tournament, averaging 16.3 points and seven rebounds while shooting 55.6 percent (20-for-36) from the field. Edge: Michigan
Florida State junior center Christ Koumadje (7-foot-4, 233 pounds) is a huge obstacle and the team’s top rim protector with 1.5 blocks per game. However, he hasn’t been much of a scoring threat with just six points in the tournament and hasn’t played more than 15 minutes in each of the past five games. Senior Phil Cofer is a stretch four who can score at all three levels and leads the Seminoles in 3-point shooting at 37.9 percent, but has struggled with his long-range shot (2-for-10) in the tournament. Moritz Wagner finally came to life for Michigan and showed why he can be such a nightmare for opposing defenses to contain. He should get another matchup he can exploit, while Isaiah Livers continues to start and provide solid defense while splitting time with Duncan Robinson. Edge: Michigan
The Seminoles have a deep, productive reserve unit with three players averaging at least 15 minutes and seven points in sophomore guard Trent Forrest, redshirt sophomore forward Mfiondu Kabengele and freshman guard M.J. Walker. On top of that, junior guard PJ Savoy is averaging 10.8 points and shooting 52.2 percent (12-for-23) from 3-point range in four postseason games and 7-foot freshman center Ike Obiagu averages two blocks a game. Robinson continues to headlines Michigan’s bench with back-to-back double digit outings and improved interior defense. While others like Jon Teske, Jaaron Simmons and Jordan Poole can step up when called upon, they might only be needed to play for short stretches if the starters are able to stay out of foul trouble and play 30-plus minutes like they did against Texas A&M. Edge: Florida State
Florida State is a prime example of a team who is coming into its best form at the right time. Its 11-man rotation and balanced scoring attack has proven to be too much as the Seminoles have knocked off three straight higher-seeded opponents. Florida State doesn’t defend the 3-point line particularly well and relies on outscoring the opposition, though, it hasn’t faced a defense quite like Michigan’s. While the Wolverines likely won’t repeat Thursday’s offensive outburst, they should still be able to slow down the Seminoles and put an end to their upset run. Michigan, 75-68
Michigan vs. Florida State
Tip-off: 8:49 p.m. Saturday, Staples Center, Los Angeles
Records: No. 3 seed Michigan 31-7; No. 9 seed Florida State 23-11
Up next: Winner advances to the Final Four to face the Loyola Chicago-Kansas State winner.