College Basketball South Regional Final: #3 Florida Gators vs #4 Michigan Wolverines

2013 NCAA Tournament – South Regional Final
#3 Florida Gators vs #4 Michigan Wolverines
Sunday, March 31, 2013, 2:20 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Cowboys Stadium – Arlington, Texas
Opening Line: Florida -3

Current Line: Florida -2 1/2
Opening Total: 131
Current Total: 132 1/2
Opening Money Line: Florida -140 / Michigan +120
Current Money Line: Florida -150 / Michigan +130

Florida is a 2.5 point favorite against Michigan in the South regional final Sunday in Arlington.
Florida is a 2.5 point favorite against Michigan in the South regional final Sunday in Arlington.

The 29-7 Florida Gators won the SEC regular season title with a 14-4 record. However, the Gators were upset by Ole Miss 66-63 in the SEC Championship game. The Gators were given the #3 seed in the South Region. In the second round Florida handled #14 seed Northwestern St 79-47. Florida then beat #11 Minnesota 78-64 in the third round. The Gators beat tournament darlings Florida Gulf Coast in the sweet 16 Friday night 62-50. The Eagles were the first ever #15 seed to make it to the sweet 16, and jumped out to an early 24-11 lead. However, they would only score 26 more points for the entire game. The Gators forced 20 turnovers against the Eagles.

Next up for Florida is the #4 seed Michigan Wolverines in the South Regional Final in Arlington, Texas. The winner will face East region champion Syracuse in the Final Four next week in Atlanta.

The 29-7 Michigan Wolverines finished 12-6 in the Big Ten, widely considered to be the best conference in the country. The Wolverines tied for fourth with Wisconsin behind 14-4 Indiana and 13-5 Ohio St & Michigan St. The Wolverines were seeded fifth in the Big Tournament and lost to Wisconsin 68-59 in the quarterfinals.

The Wolverines are the #4 seed in the South Region. They beat #13 seed South Dakota St 71-56 in the second round. Michigan took a narrow 30-26 into halftime. The Wolverines pulled away in the second half. Michigan took the 71-56 win to advance to the third round. In the third round, Michigan crushed #5 Virginia Commonwealth 78-53. Many thought the Rams could pull off the upset thanks to their pressure defense. However the Rams were never in the game.

Michigan played #1 Kansas Friday night in the regional semifinals. Kansas was up 68-54 with just under 7 minutes to go, and looked well on their way to returning to the elite 8. However, Michigan forced overtime with a 22-8 run to end regulation. Kansas looked like they were going to hold on for the win when they took a 5 point lead with 21 seconds left. However, Michigan tied it up thanks to a 3 pointer from star guard Trey Burke with 5 seconds left. In overtime, the lead changed hands 5 times. Michigan was up 87-85 with 47 seconds left. Kansas center Jeff Withey blocked a layup from Burke with 13 seconds left. Forward Elijah Johnson seemingly had a clear path to the basket for a potential game tying lay-up but he passed it off at the last minute to teammate Naadir Tharpe, who missed a long 3 at the buzzer. The Wolverines advanced to the elite 8 for the first time since 1994 in the first overtime game of the 2013 NCAA tournament.

This is the third all-time meeting between Florida and Michigan. Each team won on a neutral court. Florida won the last meeting in 1998 in a tournament in Miami. Michigan won in the second round of the 1988 NCAA tournament in Salt lake City/


Florida is coached by Billy Donovan. Florida has losses at Arizona, Kansas St in Kansas City, at Arkansas, at Missouri, at Tennessee, and at Kentucky. The Gators have wins over Wisconsin, Middle Tennessee, Central Florida, Marquette, at Florida St, Air Force in Miami, at Yale, Georgia twice, LSU twice, at Texas A&M, Missouri, Mississippi St twice, South Carolina, Ole Miss, Kentucky, at Auburn, Arkansas, Alabama twice, and Vanderbilt. The Gators are 18-15 ATS and the total is 12-18.

Florida is outscoring teams 72-54 this season. The Gators are #3 in points allowed nationally. The Gators are shooting 48.3% from the field and 38.3% from 3 point range. The Gators are #21 or better nationally in both categories. Florida makes 68% of their free throws. The Gators average 35 rebounds per game and give up 26.6 per game. Florida is #14 in rebounds allowed. Gator opponents are shooting 37.8% from the field and 30.2% from 3 point range. The Gators are #5 in field goal defense and #27 in three point defense. Florida averages 15 assists, 7 steals, 3 blocks and 11 turnovers.

Forward-center Erik Murphy averages 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.4 assists. Guard Kenny Boynton averages 12.1 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. Guard Mike Rosario averages 12.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. Center Patric Young averages 10.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Guard Scottie Wilbekin averages 9.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 5 assists, and 1.5 steals per game. Casey Prather, Michael Frazier II, and Will Yeguete all score around 6 points a game.

Michigan is coached by John Beilein. Michigan has losses at Ohio St, Indiana twice, Wisconsin twice, Michigan St, and Penn State.  All of the Wolverine losses came to the 4 other conference leaders except for last place Penn State. Michigan has key home wins over Cleveland State, North Carolina State, Arkansas, Western, Central, and Eastern Michigan, Iowa, Nebraska, Purdue twice, Northwestern, Ohio St, Penn St, Illinois and Michigan St, . The Wolverines also have wins over Pittsburgh and Kansas St in a tournament in New York City, West Virginia in Brooklyn, and at Bradley, Northwestern, Minnesota, and Illinois. Michigan is 17-16-1 ATS this season and total is 20-14 this season.

Michigan is outscoring teams 75-62 this season. The Wolverines are #24 in scoring. Michigan is shooting 48.5% from the field and 38.2% from 3 point range. The Wolverines are in the top 25 nationally in both categories. Michigan makes 71.1% from the free throw line. Michigan averages 35.1 rebounds per game and gives up 29.4 per game. Michigan opponents are shooting 41.9% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. The Wolverines are averaging 14 assists, 6 steals, 3 blocks and 9 turnovers.

Michigan guards Trey Burke averages 18.8 points, 6.7 assists, 3 rebounds, and 1.6 steals per game. He is a national player of the year finalist. Guard Tim Hardaway, Jr. averages 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. Guard Nik Stauskas averages 11.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Forward Glenn Robinson III averages 11.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.1 assists per game. Forward Mitch McGary averages 6.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1 steal and 0.6 blocks a game to lead the team. Forward Jordan Morgan averages 5 points and 4.5 rebounds.  Caris LaVert and Jon Horford also get significant minutes.

Michigan is 7-1 ATS in neutral site games, 5-1 in NCAA tournament games, and in neutral site games, 4-1 overall, and     1-4-1 against SEC teams.

Florida is 4-1 ATS in Sunday games, and against Big Ten teams, 18-6 in NCAA tournament games, 3-8 against teams with winning records, and 1-4 after a win.

Florida has lost in the regional final the last two years. The Gators look to return to the Final Four for the first time since they won back to back titles in 2006 and 2007. Michigan hasn’t been to the Final Four since the Fab 5 lost in back to back national championship games in 1992 and 1993. Michigan and Florida have two of the best back courts in the nation. Both teams are comfortable playing in the 70’s but Florida is much better on defense. I think that will be the difference. Michigan did a good job at handling the press of VCU in the third round, but Florida will be different story. The Wolverines keep it close but Florida ends up winning in the end.

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