Young Michigan served notice it will be a team to watch next year, giving defending champion Duke a major scare on Sunday before falling 73-71.
Without a single senior on the roster, the Wolverines turned what was a 15-point deficit early in the second half into a nail-biter for Duke and head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who got the 900th win of his illustrious career.
Michigan got within a point twice in the final minute-and-a-half and could have forced overtime if Darius Morris’ layup in the dying seconds had not rimmed out.
Morris led the No. 8 seeds with 16 points, Nolan Smith led top-seeded Duke with 24.
Duke made it to the Sweet 16 for the 12th time in 14 years, while Michigan did well to get to this stage after almost two decades lost in the wilderness. Michigan had not advanced to the Sweet 16 since 1994 and the teams had not met in the tournament since Duke won the 1992 national championship over the Fab 5-led Wolverines.
If Duke makes the Final Four, Krzyzewski will pass Bobby Knight for the all-time NCAA wins record.
Duke got NBA-style “star calls” throughout the afternoon – shooting 25 free throws to Michigan’s 11 – and that was a major factor in the outcome unfortunately.