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Final Four Preview: Michigan vs Loyola-Chicago

Tonight, the Michigan Wolverines face off against this year’s Cinderella, the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers. The winner of tonight’s tilt earns a berth in the National Championship game.

Tip off: 6:09pm EST

Key Players

MichiganMoritz Wagner (14.3 points per game, 6.9 rebounds per game), Charles Matthews (13 points per game, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists), Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman (12.8 points per games, 3.9 rebounds, 3.3 assists).

Loyola-ChicagoClayton Custer (13.2 points per game, 4.2 assists), Donte Ingram (11.3 points per game, 6.3 rebounds), Cameron Crutwig (10.3 points per game, 6.1 rebounds)

X-Factors

Michigan: G Zavier Simpson (7.5 points per game, 1.3 steals). Likely the best on-ball defender that Michigan has to offer, Simpson’s best effort will be quite necessary for the Wolverines to put an end to the Cinderella story that Loyola-Chicago has put together in this tournament.

Loyola-Chicago: F Aundre Jackson (11 points per game, 3.3 rebounds). Jackson, who averages 19.1 minutes per game, will need to play a big role in slowing down Michigan’s Wagner.

ESPN’s matchup predictor gives Michigan a 73.6% chance of winning tonight’s game, and advancing to Monday’s National Championship game, while the spread shows that the Wolverines are generally a five or 5.5 point favorite.

The folks at SportsLine have used their software models to simulate the game a total of 10,000 times, with an average final score of Michigan 64 Loyola-Chicago 54. In those simulations, Wagner averaged 14.4 points, while Abdur-Rahkman averaged 13.

If the Wolverines are able to pull out a victory tonight, they will become the first team in the history of the NCAA tournament to advance to a championship game without defeating a team seeded fifth or higher.

The Wolverines last played in a National Championship game in 2013, when they were defeated by Louisville. Head coach John Beilein has never won a National Championship. The winner of tonight’s game will play either Villanova or Kansas on Monday. That game is scheduled to begin this evening at 8:49pm EST.

Written by Shae Brophy

Born and raised Michigander. Former mixed martial artist, currently attempting to figure out how to golf without embarrassing myself. Very passionate Michigan sports fan. Wolverines, Red Wings, Tigers, Pistons and Lions. Life is good as a fan of Michigan sports!

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