Fab 5 last Michigan region final, Florida 3 in row
TribLIVE Sports Videos
ARLINGTON, Texas — Trey Burke was a 16-month-old toddler the last time Michigan was playing this late in the NCAA Tournament.
That regional final 19 years ago, a loss that ended the Fab Five era, was played in a building that no longer exists. Where Reunion Arena once stood near downtown Dallas is now a vacant lot 20 minutes from where the Wolverines finally get another chance to return to the Final Four.
“It's definitely crazy,” Burke said. “Just to get this program moving back in the right direction means a lot to us.”
No. 4 seed Michigan (29-7) plays SEC regular-season champion and No. 3 seed Florida (29-7) for the South Regional title on the raised court at ultramodern Cowboys Stadium on Sunday.
The Wolverines advanced largely because of Burke, the sophomore and Big Ten Player of the Year who scored 23 points — all after halftime — as they overcame a 14-point deficit against top seed Kansas. They forced overtime when Burke hit a long tying 3-pointer with 4.2 seconds left in regulation and won, 87-85, in overtime.
“Yeah, I was surprised at how far I was,” Burke admitted after seeing multiple replays of the shot that may just become known as the Fab 3.
Burke also had 10 assists, making him the first player to have 20 points and 10 assists in the NCAA round of 16 since 1987. The last to do it? A Providence player known as “Billy The Kid” — aka Florida coach Billy Donovan, who will be on the opposite bench when his Gators play in their third consecutive regional final.
Florida has been to this point each of the last two years, but it hasn't been further since winning consecutive national championships under Donovan in 2006 and 2007.
This is now the last chance for seniors Kenny Boynton and Erik Murphy to get a title of their own.
“Game to game, it's a different feeling,” Boynton said. “Up to this point, our team does a great job preparing the right way.”
While Florida is loaded with seniors and NCAA Tournament experience, the Wolverines have three freshmen in their starting lineup. Junior Tim Hardaway Jr. is the only starter older than Burke.
“A lot of people doubted us, a lot of people thought we were too young, not tough enough,” Burke said. “I think we understood we have what it takes to be a young team that can go far in this tournament.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Man dies in jump from Route 130 overpass onto passing tractor-trailer in Hempfield
- Starkey: Penguins’ season impressive so far
- Penguins a love affair for Evancho sisters
- McKeesport property deemed ripe for development
- Clairton police present interactive seminar on use of force
- Damaged Marina at McKees Point still slated to open in May
- North Versailles couple faults construction company for damage to property
- Kittanning shelter creating calm haven for interviewing young victims
- Pirates notebook: Reliever Holdzkom among three players cut
- Figure in probe of improper influence in federal investor visa program gave Rendell $15K illegally
- Hornqvist’s net-front presence with Penguins could be valuable asset