TEXAS LONGHORNS (24-10)
vs. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (26-8)
NCAA Tournament - Round of 32
BMO Harris Bradley Center - Milwaukee, WI
Tip-off: 5:15 p.m. EST
Line: Michigan -4.5, Total: 139
No. 7 seed Texas needed a last-second tip-in to beat Arizona State on Thursday, which earned the team a shot at the Sweet 16 against No. 2 seed Michigan.
The Wolverines suffocated Wofford in their first game, winning 57-40 to cover a 15-point spread. They held the Terriers to 20 points in each half and 34% shooting, including a terrible 1-of-19 from three-point range. With the win, Michigan improved to 17-14-1 ATS on the season, 6-2 SU (3-4-1 ATS) at neutral sites. They are 9-4 SU and 5-5-1 ATS against non-conference opponents. Texas failed to cover the 2.5-point spread in its win against the Sun Devils, dropping its fifth game ATS in its past six tries. The recent run has set the Longhorns back to 14-17 ATS on the season, but they are still 6-5 ATS this season against non-conference foes, and 4-2 SU (3-3 ATS) on neutral courts. Texas won against Arizona State despite getting outrebounded, a rare occasion for the team that averages 41.8 RPG (4th in Div. I) and outrebounds its opponents by +7.3 RPG. Both teams are saddled with negative betting trends in this contest, as the Longhorns are 17-31 ATS (35%) after playing a game as a favorite over the past two seasons, but the Wolverines are 1-7 ATS following a comfortable win by 15+ points this season.
Can Texas pull off the mild upset in this matchup? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts opened the NCAA Tournament with a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in First Four games, making them a stellar 60% ATS (278-185-16) in college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Brian is on an amazing Best Bets run of 23-3-2 (89% ATS) since Feb. 6, 32-6-3 (84% ATS) since Jan. 17, and 74% ATS (57-20-3) since Nov. 26 to give him a robust 70% ATS (64-27-4) record in Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 65% ATS (41-22-1) since in Best Bets Dec. 18 and 61% ATS (58-37-2) this season, while StatFox Scott is 70% ATS (14-6-2) since Feb. 16 and 59% ATS (54-38-4) for the season. StatFox Gary is 61% ATS (50-32) on Best Bets since Nov. 22 and 57% ATS (54-40-2) for the season, while StatFox Zach 64% ATS (7-4) since March 2.
Behind its solid rebounding, Texasí offense averages 74.1 PPG (84th in Div. I) despite shooting only 43.1% (238th in Div.). Defensively, the Longhorns hold opponents to 70.1 PPG on a paltry 40.1% FG. Head coach Rick Barnes plays a 10-deep rotation with no player averaging more than 30 MPG. PF Jonathan Holmes (12.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG) and C Cameron Ridley (11.4 PPG, 8.2 RPG) lead the team down low, with Ridley notching the game-winning, put-back basket on Thursday. Ridley posted a team-high 17 points and 12 rebounds in the contest, to go along with four blocks, as all five starters finished in double figures. PG Isaiah Taylor (12.4 PPG, 4.0 APG) is their leading scorer in the backcourt and top passer, dishing six dimes against the Sun Devils. Heís not a good three-point shooter (26%), and neither is SG Javan Felix (11.8 PPG, 2.8 APG), who makes just 34% threes and rounds out the top-four scorers for the Longhorns. SG Demarcus Holland (7.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG) is the teamís final starter and scored 14 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting in the teamís opening game.
Michiganís offense averages a solid 75.0 PPG (73rd in Div. I) on 48.1% shooting (21st in nation) and 14.4 APG (63rd in Div. I). The Wolverines really struggle on the boards though with 31.9 RPG (303rd in nation), but still outrebound their opponents by +1.0 RPG. They also limit opponents to only 64.6 PPG (49th in Div. I) on 44.2% shooting. The rebounding issues are because of the back injury suffered by PF Mitch McGary, and without him, nobody on the Wolverines averages more than five boards per game. SF Glenn Robinson III (13.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG), PF Jordan Morgan (5.7 PPG, 4.8 RPG) and PF Jon Horford (3.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG) are their top rebounders, but they may struggle against Ridley and Holmes. To compensate, Michigan will need a strong performance from its backcourt, led by SG Nik Stauskas (17.4 PPG, 3.2 APG). The sophomore is hitting 2.5 threes per game on a 45% clip, going 10-for-19 in the teamís past three games from deep. Stauskas is complemented by 6-foot-6 swingman Caris LeVert (13.1 PPG, 4.5 RPG), who is making 41% of his threes, has been struggling offensively in the past two games with a mere 6.5 PPG on 25% shooting.