ARLINGTON, Texas Trey Burke never doubted he could lead Michigan to its deepest NCAA Tournament run since the Fab Five era not after a scoreless first half, not when the Wolverines trailed top-seeded Kansas by 14 with less than 7 minutes left, or by five with 21 seconds left.
Nor did Burke have any doubts when he the ball in his hands with the seconds draining away.
Burke scored all 23 points in the second half and overtime, including a long, tying three-pointer in the final moments of regulation, as Michigan rallied to beat Kansas 87-85 in the South Regional semifinals Friday night.
"We never lost faith out there," Burke said. "We stuck it out together."
Ben McLemore had 20 points to lead the Jayhawks (31-6), who looked to be on their way to a third consecutive regional final before Michigan's improbable rally. Instead, Kansas became the third No. 1 seed to fall, joining Gonzaga and Indiana.
"Well, this will certainly go down as one of the toughest games that obviously we've been a part of and I've been a part of," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "But props to Michigan for making all the plays late."
The fourth-seeded Wolverines (29-7) were down five when Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a three-pointer with 35 seconds left, but Glenn Robinson III won a scramble for the ball and hit a reverse layup to force Kansas to try to win the game at the free-throw line. The Jayhawks couldn't do it.
Burke's tying shot he pulled up from well beyond the arc just left of the key came with 4.2 seconds left after Elijah Johnson missed a free throw and Michigan grabbed the rebound.
Moments earlier, with 21 seconds remaining, Johnson made two from the line to give Kansas a five-point lead. Burke scored on a layup to get Michigan back to within three.
"We never had the mind-set that we were going to lose," Burke said. "When we were down 14, we knew anything could still happen. It's March; anything can happen."
Michigan went to back-to-back championship games a generation ago with the Fab Five led by Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose. But fans in Ann Arbor will talk for years about the shot by Burke under the huge video board at Cowboys Stadium, just down the road from where Howard and Rose played their last game together with Ray Jackson and Jimmy King in a regional final loss to Arkansas in 1994.
The Wolverines will play Florida in the regional final Sunday. The Gators ended the run of No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast with a 62-50 victory in other South semifinal.
"Just to be able to get this program back to the Elite Eight, it feels good," Burke said. "But we want to go further."
The lead changed hands five times in overtime the first overtime game of the tournament the last when Mitch McGary hit a short jumper with Johnson in his face to put Michigan ahead 83-82. McGary led Michigan with 25 points and 14 rebounds.
The Jayhawks got a stop and had about 9 seconds to tie or win, but a jumbled possession ended with Naadir Tharpe missing a running jumper at the buzzer.
"We played like we were trying to hold onto something instead of just continuing to play," Johnson said.
Burke had eight points in the closing 14-4 run that tied the score, then gave Michigan its first lead since early with another long three-pointer to make it 79-78 early in overtime. He hit a jumper on the next possession as well. After failing to score in the first 20 minutes, Burke ended his drought by scoring eight straight points early in the second half to cut the deficit to two.
But Kansas restored a 10-point lead built on controlling the paint, this time with a three-pointer and a tomahawk dunk on a breakaway by McLemore and a three-point play from Johnson.
Johnson, who picked up three fouls in just three minutes of playing time in the first half, gave Kansas its biggest lead at 68-54 with a three-pointer from the corner with just under 7 minutes left.
Florida 62, Florida Gulf Coast 50 Southeastern Conference champion Florida is going to its third consecutive NCAA regional final, while the improbable journey for Florida Gulf Coast is over.
The Eagles (26-11), the No. 15 seed few people even knew of on Selection Sunday, had their season ended just before midnight.
The high-flying team from "Dunk City" jumped out to an early 11-point lead, but the No. 3 seed Gators (29-7) were just too strong. The Eagles matched their season low for points.
Michael Frazier made two three-pointers from the left side, in front of the Florida Gulf Coast bench, to start a 16-0 run late in the first half. Those were Frazier's only baskets, but they came during a 41/2-minute span when the Eagles suddenly couldn't even get off a shot. They missed their only field-goal attempt while turning over the ball four times in that span.