Houston (27-7) vs Michigan (29-7)
When: Saturday, March 17th 2018
Where: Intrust Bank Arena, Wichita, KS
Time: 9:40 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: Michigan -3/134
The high-scoring Houston Cougars broke a long postseason drought on Thursday, and will look to carry that momentum into their second round matchup against the Big Ten’s Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night in Wichita, Kansas. Houston was led by the sizzling shooting of Rob Gray to a thrilling 67-65 win against 11th-seeded San Diego State on Thursday to earn their first NCAA Tournament victory in 34 years. Gray erupted for a career-high 39 points against the Aztecs, including the go-ahead layup with 1.1 seconds remaining in the game, and hopes to lead the Cougars to their first Sweet 16 appearance since the great Houston team of 1983-84. The Wolverines allowed the third-fewest points in their NCAA Tournament history in a 61-47 win over No. 14 seed Montana on Thursday after the Grizzlies got off to a 10-0 start to the game. Michigan is seeking 30 wins for the first time since 2012-13, but the task won’t be easy against a Houston team that has scored at least 80 points in five of their last nine games. The Wolverines, who have won 10 straight overall, have advanced to the Sweet 16 in three of their previous four tournament appearances.
Gray went 4-of-6 from 3-point range en route to his career high in points and also recorded eight rebounds to finish as the lone Houston player in double figures against San Diego State. Gray has also scored at least 30 points in three of his last five outings. Devin Davis came close to recording a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds while Corey Davis Jr. also scored nine points in the win against the Aztecs.
Charles Matthews led the Wolverines with 20 points and matched his career high with 11 rebounds in the win against Montana to earn his fourth double-double of the season. Muhammad-Ali Abdur Rahkman finished with 11 points after a rough start, and his five rebounds and two steals helped the Wolverines hold the Grizzlies to 32.1% shooting. Forward Mortiz Wagner, who leads the team in scoring (14.3 per game), was held to five points on 2-of-6 shooting.
Houston is a very dangerous team coming out of an underrated conference (AAC), but this Michigan team has been on a roll since the end of January and their defense will be the deciding factor in this one. San Diego State was able to slow the entire Houston team with the exception of one player, and I believe Michigan will do a similar job.
Pick: Michigan -3
- Cougars are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a ATS loss.
- Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games.
- Cougars are 5-1-1 ATS in their last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Cougars are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral site games.
- Cougars are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Cougars are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Cougars are 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
- Cougars are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Wolverines are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up win.
- Wolverines are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 non-conference games.
- Wolverines are 8-2-1 ATS in their last 11 Saturday games.
- Wolverines are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wolverines are 16-5-1 ATS in their last 22 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wolverines are 19-7-2 ATS in their last 28 games following a ATS win.
- Wolverines are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 NCAA Tournament games.
- Wolverines are 34-16-3 ATS in their last 53 neutral site games.
- Wolverines are 36-17-2 ATS in their last 55 games overall.
- Wolverines are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.
- Over is 5-1 in Cougars last 6 games following a ATS loss.
- Under is 6-2 in Cougars last 8 non-conference games.
- Under is 5-2 in Cougars last 7 neutral site games.
- Over is 6-1-1 in Wolverines last 8 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Over is 5-1-2 in Wolverines last 8 overall.
- Over is 5-1-2 in Wolverines last 8 games following a straight up win.
- Under is 4-1 in Wolverines last 5 non-conference games.
- Under is 4-1 in Wolverines last 5 vs. American Athletic Conference.
- Over is 4-1-2 in Wolverines last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Wolverines last 6 NCAA Tournament games.
- Over is 19-7 in Wolverines last 26 games after allowing less than 50 points in their previous game.
- Over is 47-21-1 in Wolverines last 69 Saturday games.