Line: Michigan -2.5

Tennessee had an up a down season as evidenced by their 24-12 record. They were given an 11 seed with a favorable matchup vs. 6th seeded UMass, which received such a high seed for reasons only the selection committee will know. The Volunteers were dominant in their 2nd round game and that set up a matchup with a Mercer team that had just defeated Duke. Instead of allowing the game to stay close, Tennessee did what Duke should have done; they took advantage of their superior size and athleticism and pounded the ball inside in a variety of ways. This resulted in constant trips to the foul line where they rose to the challenge and converted 23-26 foul shots. Michigan matched up with Woodford in the 2nd round and had little trouble dispensing of them. In the third round they faced a Texas team that had upsets on their minds. As the physically bigger team it appeared as Michigan would have their work cut out for them. While they worked hard on the defensive end to neutralize the Texas big men they also forced them to guard them on the other end. This forced several matchups in which Texas couldn’t get to the perimeter to defend the versatile Michigan wings. Michigan never looked back after its 43-30 halftime advantage. Texas tried to threaten a few times in the second half, however Michigan went on a 7-0 run that cemented their spot in the Sweet 16.

Michigan had many contributors led by Nik Stauskas and his 17 points to go along with 8 rebounds and 2 assists. He made 4 of the 14 three pointers that Michigan converted. He also did not turn the ball over and the tea overall had only 4 turnovers. Jordan Morgan had an outstanding game as he went for 15 points and 10 rebounds. Glenn Robinson III and Carls Levert each had 14 points and 5 rebounds. Stauskas’s all around game included him either scoring or assisting on 48% of the his teams points.
Tennessee had many strong performances in the third round; none bigger than the 17 point, 18 rebound, 5 assist performance of Jarnell Stokes. To keep this in perspective, Mercer had only 19 rebounds amongst their entire team. Antonio Barton had 18 points and 4 rebounds. Josh Richardson was the leading scorer with 26 points overall. Jordan McRae rounds out the double digit scorers with 14 points.

This is not a favorable matchup for Michigan as the teams are comparable in style of play. Tennessee is the bigger team and will look to control the paint. Michigan will look to control the game from the perimeter and have been a strong outside shooting team all season long. It will be a matter of which team can get the game to flow in their direction. If the game slows down then it favors the Volunteers. If it goes up and down then the Wolverines will have the advantage.

Pick: Tennessee +2.5

Check out 2014 March Madness Odds updated daily.

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