Texas A&M (22-12) vs Michigan (30-7)
When: Thursday, March 22nd 2018
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Time: 7:37 ET | TV: TBS
Opening Odds: Michigan -3.4/134.5
The first Sweet 16 matchup on Thursday night pits two teams that got to this point in very different ways last weekend. The third-seeded Michigan Wolverines, who are the highest remaining seed in the West region after a rash of upsets in the first two rounds, take on a very confident Texas A&M Aggies squad out of the SEC. Jordan Poole nailed a deep 3-pointer as time expired against Houston on Saturday to help the Wolverines advance to their fourth Sweet 16 appearance in six years while reaching 30 victories for the fourth time in program history. Michigan coach John Beilein also set a school record for NCAA Tournament wins with 15 following the 64-63 victory against the Cougars and will look to lead the Wolverines to the Elite Eight for the third time in their last five postseason appearances. Texas A&M had not such dramatics in their second round game, completely dominating the second-seeded North Carolina Tar Heels en route to an 86-65 victory Sunday over the reigning national champions. The Aggies were highly ranked coming into this season – as high as fifth nationally during the regular season – but had their issues in conference play. They are now playing like the experts thought thanks to a dominant front line that includes three key contributors that are 6’10” and hope to ride their momentum to their first Elite 8 appearance in program history. Texas A&M has blocked 16 shots over its first two tournament games. The winner will play Florida State or Gonzaga in the Elite Eight on Saturday at Staples Center.
The Aggies were led in round two by TJ Starks, who had 21 points and five assists against North Carolina to move within one assist of breaking David Goff’s school record of 13 during the 1980 NCAA Tournament. Tyler Davis just missed a double-double as he added 18 points and nine rebounds to move past Jeff Overhouse (739) for 11th place on the Aggies’ all-time rebounding list with 745. D.J. Hogg contributed 14 points and Robert Williams grabbed 13 rebounds as North Carolina was no match for Texas A&M on the boards (50-36).
Leading scorer Moritz Wagner (14.2) overcame a slow start against the Cougars to score 10 of his 12 points in the second half and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman also recorded 12 points to lift the Wolverines past Houston despite shooting a season-low 35.6% from the field. Charles Matthews and Duncan Robinson each added 11 points while Poole finished with eight, including the game-winning shot from 28 feet away. Michigan has won 11 consecutive games, including eight in a row away from home.
I think this is an evenly matched contest. I wouldn’t have said that entering the tournament, but the Aggies are finally living up to expectations. Michigan’s shooting woes will pop up again against a very good Texas A&M defense, which limits opponents to 40.2% shooting (12th nationally).
Pick: Texas A&M +2.5
- Aggies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win.
- Aggies are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 neutral site games.
- Aggies are 7-22-1 ATS in their last 30 games following a straight up win of more than 20 points.
- Aggies are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 Thursday games.
- Wolverines are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games following a straight up win.
- Wolverines are 12-3-1 ATS in their last 16 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Wolverines are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games following a ATS loss.
- Wolverines are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
- Wolverines are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 neutral site games.
- Wolverines are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 non-conference games.
- Wolverines are 35-15-2 ATS in their last 52 Thursday games.
- Wolverines are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games overall.
- Wolverines are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 vs. Southeastern.
- Under is 4-0 in Aggies last 4 games following a ATS win.
- Under is 5-1 in Aggies last 6 vs. Big Ten.
- Under is 4-1 in Aggies last 5 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 5-2 in Aggies last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 3-0-1 in Wolverines last 4 NCAA Tournament games.
- Under is 5-1 in Wolverines last 6 non-conference games.
- Over is 5-1 in Wolverines last 6 vs. Southeastern.
- Over is 6-2-1 in Wolverines last 9 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
- Under is 6-2-1 in Wolverines last 9 Thursday games.
- Over is 5-2-2 in Wolverines last 9 overall.
- Over is 5-2-2 in Wolverines last 9 games following a straight up win.
- Over is 17-7-1 in Wolverines last 25 games following a ATS loss.