LOS ANGELES -- Even after it was clear to the rest of the country Michigan was on its way to a lopsided Sweet 16 win against Texas A&M, coach John Beilein wasn't about to get comfortable.
"Texas A&M was the one that came back on Northern Iowa, was it not?" he asked. "That was like a 10-point game with one minute to go, and they came back and tied it. Am I correct there?"
Northern Iowa actually led by 12 points with 44 seconds to go in that second-round game two years ago, but ... close enough.
Beilein has been around long enough to understand it's silly to assume anything is over, so despite building a 24-point halftime lead and maintaining at least an 18-point spread the entire second half, he never eased up.
"I kept looking, are we winning every four minutes, we weren't, but we weren't losing them either," he said. "So you can just have games where everything's just happening your way. You just try to get through the game, and that's survive. You look at that lead, and it could go south. We just did just enough to win."
Just enough, in this case, was a 99-72 win that was as impressive an offensive display as any team has showcased in the NCAA tournament this year. Just days after escaping the tournament's opening weekend with a buzzer-beater against Houston, the Wolverines have taken on the form of a team that -- as it did following its Big Ten tournament title -- appears capable of winning the entire thing.
"We knew that we could pick and choose our spots on offense, and we didn't shoot too well in Wichita, but we knew that we were confident coming into the game that we could get our shots off," said guard Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who finished with a game-high 24 points. "We just picked and chose our shots, and we took them."
And made them. A lot of them.
The Wolverines shot 61.9 percent from the field and were 14-of-24 on 3-pointers. Eight players made at least one 3-pointer, which set a new single-game NCAA record.
Any team that shoots like that is going to be tough to beat, and the Wolverines will head to Saturday's game riding a 12-game winning streak with plenty of confidence.
"I think that's all that matters," Moe Wagner said of his team's confidence. "We've been playing within ourselves all year and not looking at the opponent too much. Looking at the game plan, trying to execute that, and I think we've been believing all year we can beat anyone if we play our best basketball."
Over the past two seasons, Michigan is 13-1 during postseason play, and its win Thursday was its 31st of the season, tying a single-season school record.
For the success the program has had in recent years -- it's their third trip to the Elite Eight in six years -- Beilein tried to downplay any notion that the Wolverines have found some kind of unique postseason recipe for success.
"If you look at the story of teams, they just get hot, and I look at every year differently, but I wouldn't put too much into -- we've got some special ingredient here," he said. "You look at some of those teams we went to this level with, the team last year was special, even went through a plane crash and did everything. The team before that had five NBA first-rounders on it."
One thing Beilein will be able to count on Saturday is that his squad will be well-supported. Roughly 2,000 miles from Ann Arbor, Michigan, fans turned Staples Center into a quasi-home game. And that has been a constant not only in Los Angeles, but Wichita, Kansas, in the opening rounds and at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the Big Ten tournament.
"It's a pretty special thing that I wasn't aware of," Wagner said. "It's something really cool, something really special."
With one more win, Michigan fans will be able to say the same thing about this year's team.