Posts Tagged ‘NCAA Basketball’

National Championship Game Odds: Michigan vs. Louisville 4/8/13

April 7th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on National Championship Game Odds: Michigan vs. Louisville 4/8/13
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Rick Pitino LouisvilleThe Louisville Cardinals and the Michigan Wolverines were largely two of the best teams in the country all season long. Michigan floundered just a bit down the stretch of the regular season, while Louisville played its best basketball when it mattered the most, but after each team won five straight games in the dance, they now meet each other with the National Championship on the line. The Cardinals haven’t won the title since 1986. The Wolverines have failed to be the victors since 1989. Here at Bankroll Sports, we analyze the last battle on the college basketball betting lines of the season, as these two duke it out in Atlanta for all of the marbles.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Louisville Cardinals
Michigan vs. Louisville Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Michigan vs. Louisville Date/Time: Monday, April 8th, 9:23 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: CBS

Key #1: Trey Burke can’t have another game like he did against Syracuse
Big time players come to life in the biggest games of the season. Surprisingly though, Burke was rather MIA against the Syracuse Orange in the Final Four. He only scored seven points, and he wasn’t hitting any of those remarkable shots that we have become accustomed to seeing him knock down. In the clutch though, there still isn’t a player on either side of the court that we would rather have on our side, and it is definitely worth embracing that fact. Burke has proven time and time again that he has the ability to play the biggest ball in the biggest games, and it hasn’t even just been here in the dance. Sure, we all remember the two shots against the Kansas Jayhawks that eliminated the No. 1 seed in the South Region, but few remember that Burke was the man that came up with the steal to beat the Michigan State Spartans earlier this year, and he is the man that kept finding ways to score against some of the best and most ferocious defenses in the nation. Simply put, Burke is the man for the Wolverines, and though there is going to be plenty of discussion about some of the other players in this game, this is the one that has to step it up and become the de facto MVP if Big Blue is going to cut down the nets.

National Championship Game Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines +3.5
#1 Louisville Cardinals -3.5
Over/Under 137.5
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Key #2: One of these teams needs to have its role players make some huge plays
When you talk about role players in big games like this one, you often only think of which player can come up with the most points, especially off of the bench. That being said, the player that it makes the most sense to talk about right now is F Luke Hancock, who came off of the bench and scored 20 points to lead the way for the Cardinals. Though we know that Hancock had a huge game, we’re not really referring to men like him that are used to playing regular minutes. Instead, we are referring to men like G Tim Henderson, who scored 16 points all season long and put up two threes in a row to push Louisville from down 12 to down six in a span of less than a minute. We’re talking about G Caris LeVert, who came onto the court for Michigan and scored eight huge points after not scoring a single point since March 3rd. G Spike Albrecht did damage as well, hitting two threes in his five minutes on the court against Syracuse. Albrecht now has 19 points in this tournament. He only had scored 48 points in the entire regular season and the Big Ten Tournament. Whichever one of these teams can get the most out of these types of players will have a huge leg up on the other, because the truth of the matter is that the talent level from #1 through #6 or #7 that these two teams have is remarkably similar.

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Key #3: If the Wolverines get ahead, they have to throw down the hammer
We’ve watched time and time again here in the NCAA Tournament that teams that build substantial leads just don’t figure out how to put teams down. Davidson failed against Marquette, and the Golden Eagles ran all the way to the Elite Eight as a result. Wichita State didn’t put away Ohio State, and the Buckeyes had the ball down three points in that game with a chance to erase a 20-point deficit. The Shockers then blew a 12-point second half lead against Louisville. Even Michigan really isn’t exempt. The Wolverines had opportunity after opportunity to put away the Orange in the Final Four, and still, Syracuse found a way to have possession of the ball with less than 30 seconds to play with a chance to tie or take the lead. However, we have also seen the Wolverines as the beneficiaries of such an act. They were badly outplayed for most of the game against the Jayhawks, only to ultimately find a way to blow the game by getting outshot and turning the ball over too many times in the final five minutes or so. The one thing that we know about the Cardinals is that they aren’t giving up in games. The G Kevin Ware injury showed us that this team is resilient, and it has the ability to go on some massive runs to get the job done. If Michigan gets ahead and it doesn’t figure out how to keep its foot on the gas pedal, we know that the Cardinals are going to find their way back in this game.

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2013 Final Four Predictions: Michigan vs. Syracuse March Madness

April 6th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2013 Final Four Predictions: Michigan vs. Syracuse March Madness
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Syracuse OrangeThe second and final ticket to the NCAA Tournament finale will be handed out on Saturday night at the Georgia Dome. For the first time ever, a pair of No. 4 seeds are going to be meeting each other in the Final Four, as the Syracuse Orange and the Michigan Wolverines do battle. This is a bit of a surprising matchup to see on the Final Four odds, knowing that both of these teams had to go through some rough and rocky roads to reach Atlanta, but they’re both here and are ready to give it a go at winning the National Championship.

March Madness: Michigan Wolverines vs. Syracuse Orange
Michigan vs. Syracuse Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Michigan vs. Syracuse Date/Time: Sunday, April 6th, 8:49 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: The Wolverines have to capitalize on second chance opportunities
Obviously, the 2-3 zone for the Orange has been great over the course of this tournament. Teams are shooting an incredibly low percentage against them, and there just aren’t all that many opportunities that clubs have had to score against this unit. If there is one knock against Syracuse though, it is that it just hasn’t hit the defensive boards all that hard. It’s not that the team is a bad rebounding team, and it isn’t that those rebounds aren’t being contested, but in the end, the Orange have allowed 11.0 offensive rebounds per game here in the dance, including at least 10 in each of the last three rounds. The Wolverines have the bigs on the inside to take advantage of this, and when they get those offensive rebounds, they’re going to have to ultimately finish the job if they are going to have a shot to get into the NCAA Tournament final.

Michigan vs. Syracuse Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#4 Michigan Wolverines -2
#4 Syracuse Orange -2
Over/Under 131
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Key #2: The Orange are going to need to knock down some shots from the outside
Head Coach Jim Boeheim has preached that this is a defensive team that is finally playing defensive basketball down the stretch of the season. However, Michigan has a heck of a lot better defense than most figure. The Orange haven’t hit more than 21 shots from the field in a game since the opening round of the tournament, and we aren’t all that sure that they are going to be able to do that once again and still win this game. We have an appreciation for the fact that the guards are getting into the paint and are really killing opponents by getting them into foul trouble, but we also know that the point is going to come when someone is going to have to hit that big shot to sway the tide of the game. Is anyone going to be able to do it when push comes to shove? That’s perhaps the biggest question that the Orange have to answer when they come into this game.

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Key #3: The Wolverines have to be prepared to win a game in the 60s
The Wolverines have done well over the course of the last several games when they have had the ability to score in the 70s. In fact, getting into the 70s is generally the key to victory. Unfortunately, scoring beyond about 65 or so on the Orange is virtually impossible. There aren’t many wins this season when the team has scored in the 50s or the low 60s though, and there are a lot of losses against very similar teams. For example, in the Big Ten Tournament, the Wisconsin Badgers held down Michigan to just 59 points and won by nine. In the regular season, we saw the Michigan State Spartans blow out the Wolverines by 23 in a game in which Big Blue just didn’t have anything going, and we saw those same Badgers win 65-62 at the Kohl Center as well. Can Michigan play like a team that can win a gritty game played in the 50s or 60s? It might have to if it is going to ultimately end up playing for all of the marbles on Monday night.

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Final Four Odds & Predictions – Wichita State vs. Louisville 4/6

April 5th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Final Four Odds & Predictions – Wichita State vs. Louisville 4/6
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Wichita State BasketballDavid is known for playing Goliath early in the NCAA Tournament, but here in the 2013 Final Four in Atlanta, we are seeing a very similar matchup once again. We’re breaking down the Final Four game lines for the Wichita State Shockers and the Louisville Cardinals, as they take on one another with a spot in the National Championship Game up for grabs on Saturday night.

March Madness: Wichita State Shockers vs. Louisville Cardinals
Wichita State vs. Louisville Location: Georgia Dome, Atlanta, GA
Wichita State vs. Louisville Date/Time: Saturday, April 6th, 6:09 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: CBS

Key #1: Louisville cannot underestimate Wichita State’s abilities on the glass
This is what really got the Ohio State Buckeyes in a heck of a lot of trouble in the Elite Eight. OSU just had no clue how to deal with the bigs for Wichita State. It’s not that any one man really made a huge impact on the glass for the Shockers. They just rebounded the basketball as a team. The fact that they were able to go rebound for rebound with the Buckeyes, one of the best rebounding teams in America was a huge surprise to most. However, we really shouldn’t be surprised all that much. The Shockers not only ended up level on the glass against Ohio State, but they also went +2 in rebounding margin against another Big East team, the Pitt Panthers in the opening round of the tourney. Wichita State very quietly ranks 26th in the nation in rebounds per game (38.4) and seventh in rebounds against (26.1), and if you thought this was a product of a cupcake schedule, you can now put that theory to rest.

Final Four Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#9 Wichita State Shockers +10.5
#1 Louisville Cardinals -10.5
Over/Under 132.5
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Key #2: The Shockers cannot let Louisville go on “that run” to put the game away at any point
If we have one major knock on the Shockers right now, it is that they just didn’t manage to put away that Ohio State team when they had the chance. The Buckeyes went on that huge run and nearly got rid of a 20-point deficit in the second half down the stretch. We have seen Louisville go on runs like that through this entire tournament. Talking about that game against the North Carolina A&T Aggies is silly, but in the rest of these games, we can plainly see when the Cardinals took over. They went on a 24-12 run to end the first half to dismiss any chances the Colorado State Rams had of an upset, they were up 16 within the first five minutes of the game against the Oregon Ducks to put that one essentially away, and after the gruesome injury to G Kevin Ware, we saw the Cardinals take a 42-42 game and make it a 6-48 game in a span of just about nine minutes. We know that Louisville will go on its spurts. Runs of 10-2 will happen, and they’re going to happen against any team in America. Wichita State just has to avoid that knockout blow, the 20-4 run over a span of six minutes that it just wouldn’t recover from.

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Key #3: The three ball has to be the great equalizer for Wichita State
The Shockers get a bad rap because they don’t shoot the three-point shot all that well. They were a woeful 2-of-20 from long range in their opening game against Pittsburgh, but since that point, they have figured out how to shoot the ball tremendously more efficiently, knocking down at least 40% of its shots from beyond the arc in each of the last three games. This is sort of what made the VCU Rams dangerous a few years ago on their run to the Final Four. They weren’t a particularly great shooting team, but they all of a sudden caught fire in the dance, parlayed those turnovers that they force into open shots, and they knocked them down from the outside. Wichita State doesn’t have the athletes to win this game with talent alone. It is clear that this squad has to do something special and hit seemingly every big time shot from downtown to get crowd on its side in Atlanta.

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

March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2013 Elite 8 Predictions: Michigan vs. Florida March Madness 3/31
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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
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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.

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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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2013 March Madness Free Picks: Midwest Region Bracket Predictions

March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2013 March Madness Free Picks: Midwest Region Bracket Predictions
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Full List of Odds To Win The Midwest Region Can Be Found Below

Louisville CardinalsSportBet Sportsbook‘s NCAA basketball betting odds were always considered to be tight here in the Midwest Bracket. Everyone figured that the top seeds in this region had themselves a heck of a lot of problems against some other great teams, but alas, this was the one bracket where the chalk really held up. We’re down to just two teams, and two powerhouses at that, and today, we’re going to take one last look at the Final Four odds for the Louisville Cardinals and the Duke Blue Devils.

#1 Louisville Cardinals (-180) – The time is clearly here for the Cardinals to flex their muscles. They are overwhelmingly considered the most talented team left in the dance, as they are the only No. 1 seed that lived to make it here to the Elite Eight. G Russ Smith has been playing out of this world, and the defense, save for a few stretches against Oregon on Friday, has been out of this world. The Cardinals though, haven’t played much in the way of great teams in the dance, knowing that the toughest game that it has faced to date came against the eighth seeded Colorado State Rams, a game that really wasn’t all that close. The rest of the way though, it is destined to be nothing but big boys and heavy hitters, and this is where the rubber is going to meet the road. Head Coach Rick Pitino knows that this could be the best shot that he has of getting back to the Final Four in the near future, as so many of the players on the court are going to be leaving the school via graduation or for the NBA at the end of the season.

#2 Duke Blue Devils (+170) – There is a certain swagger about the Blue Devils that we like right now. The ACC reps were disrespected by the Selection Committee this season and were made to be No. 2 seeds instead of the top seed that they probably deserved. Duke probably has had the toughest path to reach the Elite Eight of any of the teams that are still dancing at this point. Not only was a game against Creighton very difficult on paper, but the very next game against Michigan State proved to be a heck of a battle. Beating the Spartans was one thing. However, the Dookies blew the Spartans out of the water and were never really in any serious danger of losing the game. We love watching G Seth Curry step back and let the rock fly without hesitation, and the way that F Mason Plumlee throws his body around with wreckless abandon is a pleasure as well. These are the things that didn’t exist for last year’s Blue Devils, which were knocked out of the first round of the dance by the lowly little No. 15 Lehigh Mountain Hawks. Coach K and the gang are just one win away from the greatness that is the Final Four, and we have a tough time believing that they can’t beat any team in the nation that comes their way with the way that they are playing.

2013 Midwest Region Odds @ SportBet Sportsbook (as of 3/30/13):
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Louisville Cardinals (-3.5) -180
Duke Blue Devils (+3.5) +170

Elite Eight Keys to the Game – Duke vs. Louisville 3/31/13

March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on Elite Eight Keys to the Game – Duke vs. Louisville 3/31/13
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Louisville vs. DukeThe Duke Blue Devils have literally been going through a Murderer’s Row of teams to get here to the Elite Eight on Sunday afternoon in the Midwest Region. Now, they have to take on the top overall seed in the dance, the Louisville Cardinals on the Elite Eight odds. Check out the keys to the Louisville vs. Duke matchup, as well as the March Madness odds for what should be a great game.

March Madness: Duke Blue Devils vs. Louisville Cardinals
Duke vs. Louisville Location: Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, IN
Duke vs. Louisville Date/Time: Sunday, March 31st, 2:10 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: CBS

Key #1: Gorgui Dieng has to be a difference maker
Earlier this season, the Blue Devils and the Cardinals met in the Bahamas, and the end result was a victory for the Dookies. However, in that game, Dieng was on the sidelines out injured. This is where a real difference could be made. Though Louisville did win the rebounding battle that day, there wasn’t much in the way of resistance to F Mason Plumlee. The big man scored 16 points and had seven boards, and included in there were three huge offensive rebounds. Dieng has blocked 16 shots in his last seven games, many of which have come against top flight competition. The offensive numbers definitely don’t have to be there for the big man. Defensively though, Dieng has to block some shots and alter some others to flip the tide in favor of the No. 1 overall seed in this tournament.

Elite Eight Odds at WagerWeb Sportsbook
#2 Duke Blue Devils +3.5
#1 Louisville Cardinals -3.5
Over/Under 137
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Key #2: The Cardinals have to get back to playing “Louisville Defense”
We heard Head Coach Rick Pitino at halftime of the game against the Oregon Ducks on Friday night mention that his team needed to get back to playing “Louisville defense.” The team really didn’t listen all that well, as it allowed 38 points in the second half of the game against the Ducks and were pushed right down to the wire in the game as a result. It’s clear what Pitino means. He has to get his team playing better ball in half-court sets, and there has to be more trapping and more full-court pressuring of the basketball to force more turnovers. We saw this team set the NCAA Tournament record for steals in a game back in the second round against the North Carolina A&T Aggies, and yet against Oregon, a No. 12 seed, the Cardinals only managed seven steals and really only won the game because they shot 53.8 percent from the floor. It’s clear that “Louisville defense” has to get back in the saddle against the Blue Devils if there is going to be another waltz into the Final Four for one of the proudest programs in the country.

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Key #3: Seth Curry has to out-Russ Smith Russ Smith
You’re reading that properly. Curry has to figure out how to do his own impersonation of Smith and do it better than the Louisville guard. At times, Smith literally is off the chain. He scored 31 points in the win against Oregon on Friday night, and he has now averaged 27.0 points per game here in the dance. When Smith gets going, no one is going to be able to stop him. Curry looked a little bit like that on Friday as well against a very good Michigan State Spartans outfit. The senior knocked down six of his first seven three-point field goal attempts and finished the game with 29 points. It’s not necessarily a matter of getting the points that will make the difference in this game. The player that makes the biggest shots in the biggest moments is going to be the one that leads his team to Atlanta for the Final Four.

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2013 March Madness Free Picks: South Region Bracket Predictions

March 31st, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist) | Posted in NCAA Basketball   Comments Off on 2013 March Madness Free Picks: South Region Bracket Predictions
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Full List of Odds To Win The South Region Can Be Found Below

Kansas JayhawksOver at SportBet Sportsbook, you’ll find all of the odds to win the South Region and all of the brackets in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. This is one of the most stacked brackets that we have ever seen in the dance, and we know that it is going to be a tough one to handicap, so join us for our South Bracket predictions for March Madness and the NCAA Tournament, complete with each team’s odds to make it to the Final Four.

#3 Florida Gators (-150) – Florida truly has played no one on the road to the Elite Eight, but that hasn’t stopped it from being the overwhelming favorite for this entire tournament to make it to the Final Four. Now, it’s just down to a matter of one game for the right to go to Atlanta, where the team would surely have a huge following if it were to get that far. The Gators have dominated on the glass, and they have had two very strong shooting games from long range out of three. There really have been no tremendous standout players, though that’s the way that Head Coach Billy Donovan plans it. This is a veteran squad, led by the likes of G Scottie Wilbekin and F Erik Murphy, though this is a solid eight-man rotation chock full of players that are going to be capable of doing massive damage. If Florida gets to the Final Four, it is going to be a tremendously dangerous team to watch out for.

5Dimes College Basketball#4 Michigan Wolverines (+140) – There is no team of those that are left standing here in the Elite Eight that dodged death better than the Wolverines. They were literally already written off against the top seed in the South, the Kansas Jayhawks, the Gators were already busy ironing their away jerseys for the game. Instead, UF only needs to continue wearing the home whites, as it now has a date with the fourth seeded Wolverines instead. Michigan has gotten tremendous contributions from its starters this entire tournament, and in that win against the Jayhawks, all five of the starters logged at least 10 points. C Mitch McGary is the man that has really had a coming out party here in the NCAA Tournament, as he has had back to back tremendous games to help bring the Big Blue Nation to its first Elite Eight since 1994. It would be fitting for this team to get to the Final Four, as this is a squad that has been drawing comparisons all season long to the Fab Five that brought this team to greatness in the early 1990s.

2013 South Region Odds @ SportBet Sportsbook (as of 3/31/13):
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Florida Gators (-2.5) -150
Michigan Wolverines (+2.5) +140