The Michigan Wolverine’s are 40 minutes away from their first Final Four trip since 1994. Standing in their path is Billy Donovan’s Florida Gators, an experienced team headed to its third straight Elite Eight.
It will be a battle of youth against experience, as Michigan features a glut of underclassmen similar to the Fab Five that advanced in 1994. They will need to channel that same confidence and intensity playing a Florida starting lineup featuring three seniors.
Will Michigan be Final Four bound this Sunday?
Trey Burke and two others, in particular, will determine the Wolverines' fate.
Burke has played like the consummate Wooden Award winner by carrying the Wolverines on his back all season. Will the Michigan star cap off a storybook year?
He will have to thrive in his toughest offensive assignment of the tournament.
The Gators’ Scottie Wilbekin is one of the nation’s most underrated defenders, who most recently kept tournament darling Brett Comer of FGCU in check. While there’s no disputing that Burke plays on another level than the FGCU triggerman, Wilbekin will similarly harass Burke into taking tough twos all afternoon.
The Michigan triggerman will need another marquee game—and perhaps his 28-foot jumper for the final moments—to send his team to Atlanta.
The Wolverines' interior presence has to continue his stellar play if Michigan is to advance past the Gators on Sunday.
The freshman has played beyond his years, roasting the VCU defense for 21 points and 14 rebounds and then an encore performance against Kansas with 25 and 14. He’s shooting a ridiculous 73 percent for the tournament, including a 12-of-17 night against the nation’s best shot-blocker, Jeff Withey.
McGary will have to find more of this freshman magic against the Gators’ front line of Patric Young and Will Yeguete. If McGary chooses to drag them outside the paint, both bigs will adjust better than Withey did.
Glenn Robinson III
While Tim Hardaway Jr. could have been a seamless choice here, Robinson III is truly the boom-or-bust player that could ultimately send the Wolverines to Atlanta.
Robinson could potentially be a terror penetrating inside and on the boards, if he chooses to. The freshman phenom possesses a size advantage over the Gators’ guard-heavy lineup, one that usually favors the Wolverines’ opponents.
Robinson has been known to check out in some of the Wolverines’ biggest games, including two-point outings against Indiana and Michigan State this season. He has been engaged during the NCAA tournament, though, putting up a 13-point, eight-rebound effort against Kansas.
If he can replicate that performance, or even exceed it, Michigan will almost certainly be a Final Four participant.
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Mike Shiekman is a Breaking News Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow his March Madness coverage on Twitter.
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