NCAA Latest: Time to determine who plays Michigan for title
Apr. 01, 2018
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — The Latest on the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament (all times local):
It's time to determine which No. 1 seed — Kansas or Villanova — will play against Michigan for the national championship.
The Jayhawks and Wildcats, who both have won multiple national titles, have tipped off in the second national semifinal game. Michigan beat Loyola-Chicago 69-57 earlier in the Alamodome.
Villanova won its second NCAA championship only two years ago in Houston — which is only about a 200-mile drive along Interstate 10 from San Antonio. The Wildcats got their first title since 1985 when Kris Jenkins hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to beat North Carolina.
Kansas has won five national championships, but its last was 10 years ago. That was also the last time the Final Four was played in the Alamodome.
Michigan is moving on to the national championship game for the first time since 2013 after ending Loyola-Chicago's incredible run in the NCAA Tournament.
Moe Wagner had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who overcame a 10-point deficit early in the second half to beat Loyola 69-57. Charles Matthews added 17 points.
The Ramblers, the No. 11 seed in the South Region, were in their first Final Four since 1963 — the year they were national champions.
Freshman center Cameron Krutwig had 17 points and Clayton Custer 15 for Loyola, which finished the season 32-6. That was a school record for wins.
The Wolverines (33-7) will play Villanova or Kansas — a pair of No. 1 seeds meeting in the other semifinal game Saturday night in the Alamodome — in the championship game Monday.
Michigan has won 14 games in a row after ending Loyola's 14-game winning streak.
Loyola-Chicago is going to need some more answered prayers to have another game at the Final Four.
Moe Wagner and the Michigan Wolverines are trying to end the magical ride in the NCAA Tournament for the Ramblers and Sister Jean.
Wagner has 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, who have overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half to lead 61-53 with 1:39 left in the first national semifinal game.
Marques Townes is hobbled for Loyola-Chicago after coming down awkwardly on his left knee while missing badly on a 3-point shot.
Townes was on the bench when Michigan tied the game at 47 at the 6:56 mark, though he re-entered with 6:20 left after trying to stretch it out on the bench and convincing coach Porter Moses he was OK to get back in the game.
Michigan fifth-year senior Duncan Robinson is the first player ever to score in a Division I and a Division III men's basketball semifinal game.
And his two second-half 3-pointers in the second half could be a good sign for the Wolverines.
Michigan is 28-0 when Robinson scores six points or more. He was scoreless at half.
Before transferring to Michigan three years ago, Robinson played at Williams College in Massachusetts. He played for the Ephs in the 2014 Division III semifinals.
Michigan started the second half against Loyola-Chicago with its biggest deficit in the NCAA Tournament since falling behind 10-0 in the first 4 minutes of its first-round game against Montana.
Loyola-Chicago, the No. 11 seed from the South Region, led the Wolverines 29-22 in the Alamodome. Then the Ramblers started the second half with a three-point play to make it 32-22.
The Wolverines, the No. 3 seed in the West Region, erased their deficit against Montana and led 31-28 at halftime of that game. This was the first time they have trailed at halftime in the NCAA Tournament.
Ten of the 13 members of the Basketball Hall of Fame's newest induction class have been introduced at halftime of Michigan's game against Loyola Chicago at the Final Four.
The Alamodome crowd warmly welcomed the group of basketball luminaries, which includes Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Ray Allen and Tina Thompson.
Their honor was announced earlier in the day, and they'll be enshrined in Springfield, Massachusetts in September.
Even Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt joined in the cheers and applause for the honorees. From her seat two rows behind courtside, Loyola-Chicago's 98-year-old superfan clapped the longest for Hill, Allen and Thompson, the WNBA great.
Sister Jean and the Loyola-Chicago fans are feeling pretty good at halftime, with the Ramblers leading Michigan 29-22 in the first game at the Final Four.
Donte Ingram ended the half for Loyola-Chicago by grabbing an offensive rebound and making a short jumper just before the buzzer.
The Ramblers were down by as many as eight points early after missing eight of their first 10 shots. They made eight of 14 shots after that and have three players with eight points — Aundre Jackson, Marques Townes and Cameron Krutwig.
Moe Wagner has 11 points and 11 rebounds for Michigan, which is 9-of-31 shooting (29 percent). The Wolverines are 2-of-13 on 3-pointers.
Michigan center Moe Wagner already has a double-double in the first half against Loyola-Chicago.
Wagner, the 6-foot-11 junior from Germany, had 11 points and 10 rebounds with 2:46 left in the half. He had five offensive rebounds, though the Wolverines had fallen behind 25-19.
Loyola-Chicago has finally ended its long field-goal drought at the Final Four.
The Ramblers missed eight straight shots and went 7½ minutes without a basket before Donte Ingram found Aundre Jackson for a layup inside at the 10:17 mark.
Loyola-Chicago started the game by missing nine of its first 11 shots. But Jackson got open inside, then Marques Townes hit a contested jumper over Jordan Poole at the 9:19 mark to beat the shot clock.
Michigan leads 12-10.
Loyola-Chicago is off to a bad start in the Final Four, missing eight of its first 10 shots and going more than 5 minutes without a field goal.
The Ramblers are also getting out-rebounded 12-6 and have already given up seven second-chance points less than 8 minutes into the game.
Michigan was up 12-4 at the 12:38 mark.
The Final Four is underway with Michigan winning the opening tip in the first semifinal game against Loyola-Chicago.
This isn't the first NCAA Tournament matchup between the Wolverines and Sister Jean's Ramblers.
In 1964, Michigan won a second-round NCAA Tournament game 84-80 over Loyola, then the defending national champions. The Wolverines made it to their first Final Four that season.
That 1963 title was the only previous Final Four appearance for the Ramblers, who this season were the No. 11 seed in the South Region.
The national anthem was performed by a group of four students — one from each school playing in the Final Four.
After the lights went down in the Alamodome, those students were under a spotlight on one side of the court, with images of the American flag displayed around them.
Loyola Ramblers superfan Sister Jean Dolores-Schmidt has prime seats to watch her team play in the Final Four.
The 98-year-old nun who sends the players notes of encouragement, writes scouting reports of upcoming opponents and serves as chaplain drew applause and gawkers as she arrived courtside on Saturday about an hour before the first semifinal. The 11th seeded Ramblers are playing No. 3 seed Michigan for a spot in the NCAA title game.
She was presented with a team jacket with her name emblazoned on it by coach Porter Moser before the game, and also briefly met Hall of Famer Bill Walton as she was heading into the arena.
The starting lineups are set for the first national semifinal — and it's all the same for Michigan and No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago
Both teams have the same five starters they've used their previous four NCAA Tournament games — and for most of the season.
The starting five for the Wolverines, the home team, are guards Charles Matthews, Zavier Simpson and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, and forwards Moe Wagner and Isaiah Livers.
Loyola's starters are guards Clayton Custer, Ben Richardson and Marques Townes, forward Donte Ingram and freshman center Cameron Krutwig.
Malik Newman's year of work has paid off with a trip to the Final Four.
Newman sat out last year at Kansas and worked behind the scenes as a transfer after leaving Mississippi State following his freshman season. He has come up with big performances in recent games, including scoring 13 of his 32 points in overtime of last weekend's Elite Eight win against Duke.
Newman says coach Bill Self stayed on him about becoming "a better point guard, a better player, a better leader."
The 6-foot-3 sophomore says he "should have come here straight out of high school" and called the transfer "definitely the best decision that I made."
The top-seeded Jayhawks play Villanova on Saturday night for a spot in the final.
When Michigan and Loyola-Chicago meet in the Final Four on Saturday night, one team will soon suffer its first loss in a long time.
The Wolverines have won 13 straight games since losing at Northwestern on Feb. 6. Michigan shot 50 percent in the first half and led 32-29 in that game, only to make only 5 of 20 shots and score 20 points after halftime in the 61-52 loss.
As for the Ramblers, they have won 14 straight since falling at Bradley 69-67 on Jan. 31.
Both teams advanced deeper into March Madness because of last-moment shots in earlier rounds.
Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill are among the 13-member class that will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in September.
The Hall of Fame made the announcement Saturday before the NCAA Final Four semifinals.
The inductees also include Ray Allen, Maurice Cheeks, Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, longtime executive Rick Welts, NBA executive Rod Thorn, Katie Smith, the late Ora Mae Washington and Croatian star Dino Radja.
Nash and Kidd were two of the greatest point guards of their generation. Nash is a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and eight-time All-Sta. Kidd earned 10 All-Star selections.
Hill won two NCAA titles at Duke and seven NBA All-Star selections. Allen is the most prolific 3-point shooter in NBA history and a two-time league champion.
It's been an almost all-or-nothing thing for Villanova and Jay Wright when it comes to the NCAA Tournament.
The Wildcats reached the Final Four in 2009 before falling to eventual national champion North Carolina, then failed to get out of the NCAA Tournament's opening weekend 7/8for another six years. That included a loss to North Carolina State as a 1-seed in 2015.
Villanova finally made its push a year later, beating Kansas in a regional final then beating UNC on Kris Jenkins' walk-off 3-pointer for the national title.
But last year, Villanova lost as a 1-seed in the opening weekend again against Wisconsin.
This time, the Wildcats arrived at the Final Four as the highest remaining seed in the tournament.
Villanova plays Kansas on Saturday night in the second semifinal.
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