Midwest Region Third Round Handicapping Preview: #7 Texas Longhorns vs #2 Michigan Wolverines

2014 NCAA Tournament
Midwest Region – Third Round

Bradley Center – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
#7 Texas Longhorns vs #2 Michigan Wolverines
Saturday, March 22, 2014, 5:15 pm Eastern, CBS
Opening Line: Michigan -4 1/2
Current Line: Michigan -4 1/2
Opening Total: 139
Current Total: 140
Opening Money Line: Michigan -200 / Texas +170
Current Money Line: Michigan -220 / Texas +190

Michigan is a 4.5 point favorite against Texas in the Midwest region third round Saturday in Milwaukee.
Michigan is a 4.5 point favorite against Texas in the Midwest region third round Saturday in Milwaukee.

The 24-10 Texas Longhorns meet the 26-8 Michigan Wolverines Saturday in the Midwest Region Third Round in Milwaukee. The winner between the #7 Longhorns and #2 Wolverines will meet the winner of the #11 Tennessee and #14 Mercer in the Sweet 16 in Indianapolis next week.

Texas went 11-7 in the Big 12 and tied for third with Iowa State. The Longhorns lost to Baylor 86-69 in the Big 12 semifinals. Texas went 3-5 in their last 8 games. Texas missed the tournament last year for the first time since 1998. Texas beat #10 seed Arizona State 87-85 in Thursday’s second round game on a buzzer beating lay-up from Cameron Ridley.

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 Thursday.

Texas leads the series 2-1 against Michigan. All three previous meetings have been on neutral sites. The last two games in the series occurred in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan beat Texas in the 1994 second round. Texas beat Michigan in the first round in 1996. Ironically, the 1996 game also happened in Milwaukee.

Texas is coached by Rick Barnes. The Longhorns have losses to BYU in Kansas City, Michigan St, Oklahoma twice, at Oklahoma State, at Kansas State, at Iowa State, at Kansas, at Texas Tech and Baylor. Texas has key wins over DePaul in Kansas City, Vanderbilt, at North Carolina, Rice, Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma State West Virginia three times, Baylor twice and TCU twice. Texas is 14-17 ATS and the total is 15-15-1 this season.

Texas is outscoring teams 74-70 this season. The Longhorns are shooting 43.1% from the field and 32.4% from 3 point range. Texas makes 66.4% of their free throws. The Longhorns are #284 out of 351 teams in free throw shooting. Texas opponents are shooting 39.9% from the field and 34.4% from 3 point range. Texas is #23 in opponents’ field goal percentage.  The Longhorns average 42 rebounds per game and opponents average 30.5 per game. Texas is #4 nationally in rebounding. The Longhorns average 12.8 assists, 12.4 turnovers, 5.8 steals, and 6 blocks per game. Texas opponents average 12.5 assists, 11.5 turnovers, 6.5 steals and 3.6 blocks per game.

Texas forward Jonathan Holmes averages 13 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.Guard Isaiah Taylor averages 12.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Guard Javan Felix averages 11.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1 steal per game.  Center Cameron Ridley averages 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. Guard Demarcus Holland averages 7.1 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.2 steals per game. Demarcus Croaker, Connor Lammert, Prince Ibeh, and Kendal Yancy will also get significant time in the rotation.

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 17-14-1 ATS and the total is 18-13-1 this season.

Michigan is outscoring teams 74-65 this season. The Wolverines are shooting 47.6% from the field and 39.4% from 3 point range. The Wolverines are #28 in field goal percentage and #18 in three point shooting. Michigan is #9 in free throw shooting at 76.1% from the line. Wolverine opponents are shooting. 44.5% from the field and 31.9% from 3 point range. Michigan averages 31.8 rebounds per game and allow 29.2 from opponents. Michigan is #303 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 17.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists. Forward Glenn Robinson III averages 13 points, 4.3 points, 1.2 assists, and 1 steal per game. Guard Caris  LeVert averages 13.3 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, 3 rebounds and 2.8 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.

Texas is 7-1 ATS against Big Ten teams, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 1-4 in Saturday games, 1-5 overall, 0-4 after a straight up win, and 0-5 in NCAA Tournament games.

Michigan is 6-1 ATS in NCAA Tournament games, and against Big 12 teams, 3-1-1 in non-conference games, 8-3-1 in Saturday games, 3-8 after a straight up win, 1-4 after allowing less than 50 points, and 1-6 after a cover.

Texas is very talented but very young. The Longhorns can be very inconsistent, and you never know what team will show up. Texas certainly has the talent to pull off the upset, but I think Michigan pulls it out in the end.

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