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Wolverines play 'Cinderella' in NCAA semi-final Saturday

University of Michigan men's basketball players
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Michigan huddles up during their Elite 8 game against Texas A&M, which the Wolverines won 58-54.

The University of Michigan Wolverines tip off in the national semi-final of the NCAA men’s basketball championship against Loyola-Chicago Saturday.

The game is a matchup of a perennial contender in Michigan and a team from Chicago that hasn’t been in the final four in 55 years. The Ramblers won the title in 1963.

Wolverine coach John Beilein says the 11th seeded Loyola Ramblers are a really good team.

“They got a great plan. They execute it as good as anybody we’ve seen all year long,” says Beilein.

Beilein points out that Loyola won 32 games this season. The Wolverines have also won more than 30 games this season, and are on a 13 game winning streak.

Loyola coach Porter Moser praises Michigan’s play on offense and defense.

“I just think they’re so good on both ends. They are really hard to score against,” says Moser.

Moser admits “focus” is an issue for his players as the national media spotlight has been shining bright on his team. Still, he says he wants them to “enjoy the ride.”

While it’s been a half century since Loyola has been in the final four, it’s the second trip for Beilein at U of M.  Michigan lost the national title game to Louisville in 2013. The NCAA stripped Louisville of the 2013 title, following an investigation into recruiting violations. 

Beilein says there are differences between this team than the 2013 finals squad, though he declines to specify. 

The winner of Saturday’s game will play for the national title on Monday. 

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Radio since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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