2013 Elite 8 Predictions: Michigan vs. Florida March Madness 3/31

Last Updated: March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Trey Burke MichiganThe third ticket to the Final Four will be punched on Sunday afternoon in Arlington, where the #4 Michigan Wolverines are going to hope to find some more magic when they take on the #3 Florida Gators, who are going to be playing in their most difficult game of the tourney to date. Join us for our Elite Eight predictions and our March Madness picks for Florida vs. Michigan in the South Region Final.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Florida Gators
Michigan vs. Florida Location: Dallas Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX
Michigan vs. Florida Date/Time: Sunday, March 31st, 2:20 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Trey Burke has to continue to work his magic from the outside
For the entire first half, Burke was shut down against the Kansas Jayhawks on Friday night. He had absolutely nothing going his way, and he and his Wolverines seemed destined to be headed out on the next flight back to Ann Arbor. However, Burke really turned it around in the second half and ultimately overtime, scoring 23 points. He knocked down a three-point shot that likely kept the game going with just over a minute left in the game, and then he turned around with just a few seconds left in regulation and hit the three-pointer from tremendously long range that sent the maize and blue into a frenzy. Michigan had no business whatsoever knocking off the Jayhawks, and it is going to have to keep its feet on the ground and not get too high. Burke is the veteran of this bunch, though he is only a sophomore, and he really is the difference maker in this game for the Wolverines.

Michigan vs. Florida Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines +2.5
#3 Florida Gators -2.5
Over/Under 131
Click Here to Bet Your Elite 8 Picks!

Key #2: Florida has to get its bearings right out of the blocks
The Gators have ultimately put away all three of the teams that they have faced thus far in the tournament, but they really haven’t been particularly challenged by the caliber of team that they have faced. Now, instead of facing a No. 11, No. 14, or No. 15 seed, Florida is taking on a team that was ranked No. 1 in the country once upon a time. The Gators have had a tough time getting into the swing of games early, especially against Florida Gulf Coast and Northwestern State. Of course, Michigan got off to a terrible start against Kansas as well on Friday night, and that leaves a big question for concern as well. However, we saw what the Wolverines could do in the clutch against one of the best teams in America, and if Florida falls behind perhaps by double digits early on, there is a good chance that Michigan will be able to jump on it and force the SEC reps into some real problems.

Diamond Sportsbook

Key #3: The Gators can’t rely upon their rebounding to make up for poor shooting
Here’s a situation where the stats really don’t tell the whole story. If you look at what the Gators have done shooting the ball in this tournament, you’d be relatively impressed. They are hitting a very respectable 46.4 percent from the floor for the dance, and they are knocking down 37.5 percent of their three-point shots. The numbers aren’t great, but they aren’t terrible either. What you’re not seeing are how many of those made field goals are coming after grabbing offensive rebounds. Florida picked up 28 offensive boards against Northwestern State and Florida Gulf Coast combined, and that’s where a lot of the easy buckets are coming from. Against Minnesota, what we saw this team do was slow things down and take the ball to the rack quite a bit, and the Gators ultimately won that game from the charity stripe. Michigan isn’t going to get dominated on the glass as Florida Gulf Coast and Northwestern State did previously, so Florida is going to need to make a lot more of its mid-range jumpers and outside shots to move on to the Final Four.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Sunday, March 31st, 2013 @ 3:10 am (EST)
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