Friday, November 24, 2017
Sports

Youth serves Michigan well again

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Another fabulous group of young Wolve­rines is going to the Final Four.

Michigan hadn't reached the Final Four since finals berths in 1992 and 1993, the freshman and sophomore seasons of the Fab Five: Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Ray Jackson and Jimmy King. Webber left before a 1994 region final loss to Arkansas.

"It means the world," said G Tim Hardaway, the junior elder statesman of a starting lineup that includes three freshmen and a sophomore. "Twenty years have passed, and we haven't been on that stage yet."

With four this year, including 79-59 over Florida on Sunday, the Wolverines have one more tournament win than their total from the end of the Fab Five era to this season. They won once in 1998, didn't make the field again until 2009, winning one, missed the field in 2010 and won one in 2011.

"Seeing it all come together, I don't know what to say," sixth-year coach John Beilein said.

"I'm a little bit speechless."

Big conversion: Wolverines G Trey Burke is from Columbus, Ohio. He grew up a football fan of Ohio State — Michigan's archrival — and a basketball fan of Duke — which beat Michigan in the 1992 final. But the sophomore still knew of Michigan's history and said he isn't surprised to be back in the Final Four.

"I said it in the summer, and the coaches kind of got on me saying we can be national championship contenders," Burke said. "But that was coming from my heart."

YOUNG'S NEXT MOVE: Florida C Patric Young, a projected second-round draft pick, said he is undecided about returning for his senior season. Asked if three trips to the Elite Eight without making it to the Final Four would affect his decision, Young said no. "Just whatever makes me happy," Young said. "I'm going to catch up on school, take a little bit of time away and talk to my family. I'm going to do whatever I feel is best."

Times staff writer Antonya English contributed to this report.

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