On Thursday night, No. 3 seed Michigan looked like a much different team than they did in the first two rounds of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament as they cruised to a 99-72 win over Texas A&M in the Round of 16.
After dreadful shooting performances in their first two games, the Wolverines shot 61.9% from the field including connecting on 14 of 24 shots (58.3%) from beyond the arc. By the time halftime rolled around, Michigan had held a 24-point lead, and they never looked back.
With the win, head coach John Beilein and his players advanced to the Elite 8 where they will square off against No. 9 seed Florida State, who handled No. 4 seed Gonzaga 75-60 in the late game. What stood out in this game was the Seminoles defense, which held the Bulldogs to just 33.9% from the field. Note: It is important to point out that Gonzaga was without their second-leading scorer and rebounder, Killian Tille.
The Elite 8 matchup between Michigan and Florida State will take place on Saturday at 8:49 p.m. and will be televised on TBS. If you do not have cable, you can stream the game for free on CBSSports.com.
According to Vegas Insider, the Wolverines (31-7) have opened as a 4.5 point favorite over the Seminoles (23-11). This will mark the third-straight 2018 NCAA Tournament game where Michigan has been the odds-on favorite according to the sports books in Las Vegas. The Seminoles, on the other hand, have been 6-point underdogs in each of their last two games but have found a way to come through.
When it comes to offensive efficiency, Michigan (No. 41) and Florida State (No. 53) are very similar, but it’s defense where the Wolverines have the advantage. Michigan ranks No. 17 nationally when it comes to defensive efficiency compared to Florida State who ranks No. 67.
But, as we know, full-season rankings don’t mean much when it comes to March Madness. Lower-seeded teams often rise up and make an improbable run, knocking off tournament favorites along the way. Heck, just take a look No. 11 seed Loyola-Chicago who has advanced all the way to the Elite 8 in this year’s tourney.
Let’s face it; the chances are that Michigan is not going to hit over 60% of their shots for the second game in a row but you can be sure that Beilein will have his squad ready to play defensively and that will be the key.
Look for this to be a MUCH closer game than the Wolverines win over Texas A&M, but when all is said and done, it will be Michigan that moves on to the Final Four!
Michigan 73 Florida State 66