Sweet Sixteen Picks — Michigan Wolveriness. Texas A&M Aggies
Well, if the Texas A&M Aggies play like they do in the Round of 32 against defending national champion North Carolina, it is going to spell some trouble for the rather low-octane Michigan Wolverines as these teams compete in Sweet Sixteen action that is slated to begin at 7:37 PM ET at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. If you are a BetAnySports customer, you can get reduced juice, which will deliver some value in the odds, and then after the game has started, you can place wagers while the contest is in progress, using the state-of-the-art software provided through Live Betting Ultra.
The Aggies, who raised their record to 22-12 last weekend, looked almost perfect as they took out the Tar Heels 86-65. Robert Williams, the 6-10 forward who is almost certainly going to be seen as a lottery pick in the next NBA Draft, pulled down thirteen rebounds and made his defensive presence known otherwise with a pair of blocks. TJ Starks, the freshman guard, chipped in 21, while Tyler Davis had 18 points. If anyone was expecting a big run for the Tar Heels in the second half, they shouldn’t have been.
Michigan got really lucky in their weekend game, as they needed a long three-pointer from Jordan Poole to come away with a 64-63 victory. The Maize and Blue escaped with some very poor shooting, as they hit 35.6% from the field. At one point John Beilein’s team may have been wondering about their at-large status. But that was long ago; they have now won eleven consecutive games, ripped through the Big Ten tournament, and are sitting with 30 wins.
In the odds at BetAnySports upon which our Sweet Sixteen picks will be based, the Wolverines are favored:
Michigan Wolverines -3
Texas A&M Aggies +3
Over 137 points -110
Under 137 points -110
Both of these teams have been kind of subpar from the free throw line, so we can’t really afford an edge to either one of them in that department. Michigan has in its corner a forward who has reminded some people of Dirk Nowitzki (okay, poor man’s version) named Mo Wagner, and at 6-11 he can really take it out to the three-point arc, hitting 40%.
Will there be a battle on the boards? Michigan is 175th in the nation in rebounding margin, but they haven’t proven to be too bad on the defensive boards, ranking 24th (according to KenPom.com). How much can they use the 7-1 Jon Teske, a reserve big man who can sometimes step in and give a lift, scoring 14 against Purdue in the Big Ten tournament and then getting to the line eight times against Houston (hitting six)? That could be an equalizer.
When A&M plays well, they REALLY play well. In fact, after belting West Virginia 88-65 in the season opener, they have gone on to beat the likes of Buffalo (a winner over Arizona in the NCAA Tournament), Missouri, Arkansas, Kentucky, USC and Penn State by double-digit margins. And we saw what they just did to North Carolina. But they can be inconsistent as well, going 2-7 in one nine-game stretch to lose a lot of ground on a national level. They also lost to Alabama in the SEC tourney.
But now they have beaten Providence, which defeated Villanova and gave Xavier a real scare in the Big East tournament, and whacked the Tar Heels. And even though Michigan is third and A&M 9th in the Defensive Efficiency rankings, the Aggies have defended two-pointers and threes more effectively (17th and 20th, respectively). We’ll take any points available with them.
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