Midwest Region Sweet 16 Handicapping Picks: #11 Tennessee Volunteers vs #2 Michigan Wolverines
2014 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Regional Semifinals
Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana
#11 Tennessee Volunteers vs #2 Michigan Wolverines
Friday, March 28, 2014, 7:15 PM Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Michigan -1
Current Line: Michigan -2
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 134
Opening Money Line: Michigan -125 / Tennessee +105
Current Money Line: Michigan -140 / Tennessee +120
The Midwest regional semifinals in Indianapolis with 4 teams with passionate fan bases and campuses located all within 360 miles of the city. It all tips off Friday night as the #2 seed Michigan Wolverines and 24-12 #11 Tennessee Volunteers meet in the first semifinal. That will be followed by #4 seed Louisville against #8 seed Kentucky in the second. The winners will meet in the Midwest regional final Sunday with a trip to the Final Four on the line.
Tennessee was fourth in the SEC with an 11-7 record. The Volunteers lost to Florida 56-49 in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament. Tennessee has won 8 of their last 9 games. The Volunteers beat Iowa 78-65 in overtime in the first round in Dayton, and then beat #6 Massachusetts 86-67 in the second round in Raleigh. Tennessee then beat #14 seed Mercer 83-63 in the third round, after Mercer had upset #3 seed Duke. It is the fourth trip to the Sweet 16 in the last 8 seasons for the Volunteers.
Michigan won the Big Ten title outright for the first time in 28 seasons with a 15-3 record. A loss to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship game snapped a 7 game winning streak for the Wolverines. Michigan is making their fourth straight trip to the Tournament. The Wolverines lost to Louisville in the national championship game last season. The Wolverines beat #15 seed Wofford 57-40 in the second round , and then beat #7 Texas 79-65 in the third round. Both games were in Milwaukee.
The Tennessee-Michigan series is tied at 5-5. Michigan won the last meeting 75-45 in the second round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament.
Tennessee is coached by Cuonzo Martin. The Volunteers have losses at Xavier, UTEP in the Bahamas, at Wichita State, North Carolina State, Texas A&M twice, at Kentucky, Florida three times, at Vanderbilt, and at Missouri. Tennessee has key wins over Xavier and Wake Forest in the Bahamas, Morehead State, Virginia, at LSU, Auburn twice, Arkansas, Ole Miss, at Alabama, South Carolina twice, Georgia, at Mississippi State, Vanderbilt, and Missouri. Tennesse is 21-13 ATS and the total is 14-19-1 this season.
The Volunteers are outscoring teams 72-61 this season. Tennessee is #17 nationally in points allowed. The Volunteers are shooting 45% from the field including 32.5% from 3 point range. Tennessee makes 72.2% of their free throws. Volunteer opponents are shooting 41% from the field including 33.8% from 3 point range. Tennessee averages 38.8 rebounds a game and opponents average 26.5 per game. Tennessee is #22 in rebounds nationally and #6 in rebounds allowed. The Volunteers average 12.6 assists, 5.2 steals, 4.8 blocks and 10.7 turnovers a game. Opponents average 9.8 assists, 5.3 steals, 3.8 blocks, and 10.9 turnovers a game.
Guard Jordan McRae averages 18.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1 block per game. Forward Jarnell Stokes averages 15.2 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1 block per game. Forward Jeronne Maymon averages 9.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assist per game. Guard Josh Richardson averages 10.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. Guard Antonio Barton averages 7.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Armani Moore, Darius Thompson, Derek Reese, and A.J. Davis will also get significant time in the rotation. Guard Robert Hubbs III is out for the season with a shoulder injury.
Michigan is coached by John Beilein. The Wolverines have losses at Iowa State, to Charlotte in a tournament in Puerto Rico, at Duke, at Arizona, at Indiana, at Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State. The Wolverines have key wins over Long Beach State and Florida State in Puerto Rico, Stanford in Brooklyn, Minnesota twice, Northwestern, Nebraska twice, Penn State, at Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan State twice, Purdue twice, Ohio State twice, at Illinois and Indiana. Michigan is 18-14-1 ATS and the total is 19-13-1 this season.
Michigan is outscoring teams 74-65 this season. The Wolverines are shooting 47.5% from the field and 39.8% from 3 point range. The Wolverines are #28 in field goal percentage and #8 in three point shooting. Michigan is #10 nationally in free throw shooting at 76.2% from the line. Wolverine opponents are shooting. 44% from the field and 31.2% from 3 point range. Michigan averages 31.7 rebounds per game and allow 29.2 from opponents. Michigan is #304 out of 351 teams nationally in rebounding. The Wolverines average 14.2 assists, 9.4 turnovers, 5.1 steals and 2.5 block per game. Opponents average 11.9 assists, 11 turnovers, 5 steals and 2.5 blocks per game.
Guard Nik Stauskas averages 17.4 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Forward Glenn Robinson III averages 13.1 points, 4.4 points, 1.2 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Caris LeVert averages 13.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Forward Mitch McGary averages 9.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.5 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. He is out indefinitely with a back injury. Guard Derrick Walton, Jr. averages 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Zak Irvin, Jordan Morgan, Jon Horford, and Spike Albrecht will also get plenty of time in the rotation. Little used guard Cole McConnell is questionable with a foot injury.
Tennessee is 5-0 ATS in non-conference games, 4-0 in Friday games, 7-1 overall, 6-1 after a straight up win and in neutral site games, 5-1 after a cover and against teams with winning records, and 5-2-1 in NCAA Tournament games.
Michigan is 3-0-1 ATS in non-conference games, 7-1 in NCAA Tournament games, 13-6-1 in neutral site games, and 2-6 after a cover.
Both of these teams are red hot right now. Michigan has won 9 of their last 10 and Tennessee has won 8 of 9 games. This could be a low scoring game with both teams giving up 65 points or less per game. Stauskas and McRae are two of the most exciting guards in the nation. Tennessee keeps it close but Michigan wins a close one at the wire.