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Michigan Wolverines men's basketball team moves on to NCAA tournament regional final with easy victory over Florida State, 76-58

Michigan guard Franz Wagner drives to the basket during the second half of a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Sunday in Indianapolis. Michigan won 76-58. (AP photo)

By EDDIE PELLS

AP National Writer

INDIANAPOLIS — What was touted as the marquee matchup in the Sweet 16 turned into a dud.

For everyone but Michigan, that is.

Seven-foot-1 freshman Hunter Dickinson had 14 points and eight rebounds and the top-seeded Wolverines took the inside route to the Elite Eight, pounding away in the paint Sunday for a 76-58 takedown of surprisingly helpless Florida State.

Franz Wagner had 13 points and 10 rebounds for Michigan. The Wolverines scored their first 30 points of the second half from close range to turn this game into a blowout and lead coach Juwan Howard and Co. to a victory in the only “chalk” meeting between a 1 and 4 seed of the second weekend.

Michigan (23-4) moved to a regional final for the first time since 2018 under John Beilein, whose departure a year later led to Howard’s hiring. The Wolverines will play the winner of Sunday’s UCLA-Alabama game.

They decimated Florida State’s inside defense. The evening’s most telling stat was points in the paint: Michigan 50, Florida State 28.

“We basically knew how they were going to play us all game with fronting the post and switching everything,” Wagner said. “We knew what to expect and did that in practice. And I think we did a really good job of not allowing them to speed us up.”

The Wolverines created havoc on the other end, too.

They forced Florida State so off the mark that the Seminoles didn’t score their 20th point until M.J. Walker (10 points) hit a jumper with 27 seconds left in the first half.