Michigan v Florida

Michigan blows out Florida, headed to first Final Four in 20 years

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The outcome of the South Region final between 3-seed Florida and 4-seed Michigan was decided in the game’s first four minutes.

John Beilein’s Wolverines scored the first 13 points of the game and led by as many as 24 points in the first half on their way to a 79-59 victory at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex., resulting in the program’s first Final Four since 1993.

This will be Beilein’s first Final Four appearance, as his 2005 West Virginia team fell in the Elite Eight.

The catalyst in the first 20 minutes was freshman guard Nik Stauskas, who made just two of his 12 three-point attempts in Michigan’s first three NCAA tournament games. Against Florida, who in the first half defended the Canadian as if they assumed his cold stretch would continue, Stauskas hit his first seven shots from the field (six from beyond the arc) on the way to scoring a game-high 22 points.

Fellow freshman Mitch McGary continued his good play in the NCAA tournament, scoring 11 points, grabbing nine rebounds and outplaying Florida junior Patric Young (eight points, seven rebounds) for much of the contest.

MORE: Mental miscues, questionable coaching decisions doom Gators

Trey Burke, who apparently has been battling a bug of sorts this weekend, didn’t shot well from the field (5-of-16) but he did dish out seven assists with just one turnover. As a team the Wolverines shot 10-of-19 from beyond the arc and 46.2% overall, proving to be too much for the Gator defense.

Next up for the Wolverines is East Region champion Syracuse, which will offer up the enticing matchup of Jim Boeheim’s famed 2-3 zone and John Beilein’s offensive attack that doesn’t lack for perimeter shooters.

MORE: Photos from the Elite Eight

One player the Wolverines will need to get untracked next weekend is junior Tim Hardaway Jr., who shot just 3-of-13 and scored nine points against Florida. But they entered Sunday with a similar concern regarding Stauskas, and we see what happened there.

There’s no doubt that Trey Burke is one of the nation’s best players but his teammates are stepping up at the right time. Two more wins? There’s no doubt that Michigan is capable of winning two in Atlanta.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.