ARLINGTON, Texas — Spike Albrecht labels himself as an “energy” player for the Michigan men’s basketball team. Through the course of the season, the freshman guard has come off the bench to be a spark for the Wolverines.
“The coaches and my teammates have a ton of confidence in me, and that gives me my confidence to go out there,” Albrecht said. “I know I have a job to do. I don’t want to let my teammates down.”
In Michigan’s 79-59 win over Florida on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium, Albrecht gave the Wolverines a distinct boost when it seemed the Gators had a chance to climb back into a game in which they trailed by as many as 24 points in the first half.
Florida cut Michigan’s lead to 11 (47-36) at the start of the second half, but Michigan stretched its lead back to 16 with the help of a gutsy play by Albrecht.
Defending near the basket, Albrecht intercepted Will Yeguete’s inbounds pass, intended for Scottie Wilbekin, and Albrecht’s shot beat flailing Florida forward Erik Murphy to help Michigan stretch out what had seemed like a tenuous 11-point lead.
“It was a risk-reward play,” said Albrecht, who finished with seven points, one rebound, one assist, and three steals. “If I missed it, coach [John] Beilein would probably have been pretty upset with me.”
“He did a great job coming into that game, getting that steal, making the easy plays and the easy passes,” Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III said. “Spike comes in and takes that 3-ball or passes to the open man. I think that like that, we all know our roles, and we’ve got to protect those if we want to win.”
OF LEG AND LIMB: Burke said after Sunday’s win that he had stomach problems prior to Michigan’s win Friday over Kansas and that Sunday he had upper back spasms.
“I’m going to get therapy on it this week, get it checked out, and get a lot of rest,” said Burke, who scored 15 points against Florida and was named the South region’s most outstanding player, as voted on by the media. “I’ll be ready for us this weekend. It didn’t affect us [Sunday].”
THREE AND COUNTING: Florida lost in the Elite Eight for the third time in the last three years. The Gators lost 72-68 to Louisville in the 2012 West regional final and lost 74-71 to Butler in the 2011 Southeast final.
“I’ve experienced the Final Four enough,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “I want our program to continue to experience it and our players. This is a totally different feel than the last two. The last two to me, we gave ourselves every opportunity to win.
“This game, we didn’t deserve to win the game.”