Florida State (18-6) vs Michigan (22-4)
When: Sunday, March 28th, 2021
Where: Bankers Life Fieldhouse,
Time: 5:00 ET | TV: CBS
Opening Odds: Michigan -6/139.5
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The Big Ten hasn’t won a National Championship in 20 years and this year’s tournament started promising for the conference with nine teams representing. Well, fast-forward to the Sweet 16 and only the Michigan Wolverines remain. They will tangle with the fourth-seeded Florida State Seminoles on Sunday evening for the right to advance to the Elite Eight on Tuesday. The Wolverines once again won’t be at full strength as second-leading scorer Isaiah Livers (13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds) will miss his fourth-straight game with a stress fracture in his right foot that occurred in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal win over Maryland on March 12. Still, Michigan has been able to move on without him, beating Texas Southern 82-66 and eighth-seeded LSU 86-78. Florida State has held opponents to 39.3 percent field-goal shooting and 32.6 percent 3-point accuracy on the season and simply dominated Colorado on Monday. The Seminoles limited the potent Buffaloes offense to 35.7 percent shooting and just 6-of-25 from 3-point range while forcing 19 turnovers. Florida State committed 15 turnovers but shot 52.2 percent from the field in the 71-53 route. The Wolverines are 2.5-point favorites on the college basketball odds board with a total of 143.5 as of Saturday night. Michigan and Florida State have played four times, with Michigan leading 3-1. The schools played in the 2018 Elite Eight when the No. 3 Wolverines beat the No. 9 Seminoles 58-54 in Los Angeles. Florida State is 3-1-1 against the spread in its past five NCAA Tournament games as an underdog, while Michigan is 12-4-2 ATS in its past 18 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite. The winner will advance to Tuesday’s regional final to face either second-seeded Alabama or 11th-seeded UCLA.
Junior Anthony Polite had a career-high 22 points along with five rebounds, four assists and four steals to help send the Seminoles to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season and for the seventh time in school history. Polite is one of four double-figure scorers for the balanced Seminoles at 10.2. The leader is M.J. Walker at 12.3, followed by RaiQuan Gray at 12.0 and sixth man Scottie Barnes at 10.4. Florida State hits on 38.2 percent of its 3-point attempts but commits 14.4 turnovers per game. After allowing just 54 points in Round 1 to UNC Greensboro, the 53 points scored by Colorado in Round 2 were the fewest ever allowed by the Seminoles in the tournament. The Seminoles have shot 53.5 percent from the field in their last three games. Florida State has 7-1 sophomore Balsa Koprivica to throw at Wolverines star Hunter Dickinson and two big guards in 6-5 MJ Walker and 6-4 Rayquan Evans.
LSU was up five on Michigan midway through the second half, but the Wolverines took over to win and cover the spread, 86-78. Michigan’s height led to a 37-30 rebound advantage and a lot of easy baskets as the Wolverines shot 53.8 percent overall. Senior Chaundee Brown Jr. had a career-high 21 points and seemed to come up with every key play in the second half. Fellow senior Eli Brooks also had 21 points and tied his career high with five three-pointers. It’s the fourth straight Sweet 16 for the Wolverines and are eighth in the nation with 118.6 points per 100 possessions and 18th in effective field goal percentage. Michigan also commits just 11.2 turnovers a game.
I think Florida State’s defense and size will ultimately win out here. Michigan was able to advance this far without Livers, but Florida State will present a huge challenge for the Wolverines that I don’t think they can overcome.
Pick: Florida State +2.5
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