Depending on the situation, the reminder would come almost every time they huddled up during the final few minutes of the game:

“You know where I’m going to be. If I’m open, hit me.”

It’s a familiar refrain that comes from Michigan sophomore guard Nik Stauskas, teammate Spike Albrecht said, when games such as Friday night’s too-close-for-comfort Sweet Sixteen victory over Tennessee are in the balance.

“We’re all leaders on the court but Nik, just his demeanor, people really get confidence from that,” Albrecht said in the Wolverines locker room after their 73-71 win put them in Sunday’s Midwest Regional final against Kentucky.

Stauskas, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year, will be glad to have their confidence extend them all the way to the NCAA Final Four. He acknowledged Friday that a Michigan loss might have produced other story lines, including questions whether he and fellow sophomores Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III would declare for the NBA draft.

No concern about that now.

“We’re in the Elite Eight,” Stauskus said. “I’m just glad we keep on playing.”

Stauskas entered Friday’s game averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game, along with his 3.3 assists and 3.1 rebounds. Against the Vols, he finished with 14 points, no rebounds and had two assists.

Afterward, he lauded the performances of his teammates, notably Robinson’s shooting touch (13 points on five-of-eight field-goal attempts) and Jordan Morgan’s determined play. While Morgan scored a team-high 15 points, Stauskas also recognized the senior forward’s huge efforts without the ball.

None was more important than when Morgan took a charge on Tennessee’s Jarnell Stokes with six seconds left, preventing a Vols’ game-winning attempt after Michigan had blown a 15-point lead.

Sophomore guard Caris LeVert was the fourth Michigan starter who scored in double figures with 10.

“We’ve had a balanced attack across all of our starters,” Stauskas said. “It shows the versatility of this team. It’s patience and looking for the best shot.”