The Michigan Wolverines (6-3) are coming off of two awful losses at home and looking to regroup as they face the #3 Arizona Wildcats (8-0) on the road. Do the Wolverines stand any chance of keeping this game compeitive against a Arizona? See who we like as our betting pick.
Tip-off is set for 5:15 pm ET this afternoon at the Mekale Center in Tucson, Arizona. This game can be seen on ESPN.
5Dimes Sportsbook lists the Wolverines as a 12.5 point betting underdog and the total for the game is listed at 129 on the NCAA Basketball Odds. My question is Michigan even deserving of being a 12.5 point underdog?
Losing to Eastern Michigan at home is bad enough, but to lose to the N.J.I.T Highlanders is something that they want to sweep under the carpet. How will a loss to the Highlanders look on their resume come NCAA Tournament time if they're even considered? I could actually see the odds being even higher.
Arizona, head coach, Sean Miller, knows that his team is in a great spot. Miller had stated to the media that Michigan will come into this game with a lot of intensity after their recent two consecutive home losses. This is not true and Miller is saying this so his team doesn't get over-confident. Those were two awful losses. If anything, Michigan will come into the Mekale Center demoralized. If you can't beat N.J.I.T at home, how are you going to beat a tough Wildcats defense on the road?
We might have to call the 6 foot 7 guard the "One Man Show" because this is the one player on the Wolverines squad that Arizona will need to focus on, possibly double-teaming.
LeVert leads the Wolverines in almost all offensive statistical categories. He's averaging 17.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists, and is shooting an eye-popping 48.9% from 3-point range. Not only that, in close games, LeVert is a major asset as he's shooting 83.3% from the charity stripe.
After laying 32 point on 6 of 8 shooting from 3-point range, against N.J.I.T, LeVert put up a stinker against a tougher E.Michigan team. I expect him to bounce back in this game as he's the one player that the Wildcats defense will be unable to contain.
Speaking of the Wildcats defense, this is a team that hasn't allowed an opponents to put up 70 points on them in a single game this season. Arizona has also faced some tough competition with the likes of Gonzaga and San Diego State and although these games were close, the Wildcats prevailed, in part due to their defense. Expect more of the same as Michigan is a step down in which level of competition is concerned for Sean Miller's team.
Statistics can't always be taken too serious where Arizona is concerned as they're coming off of a 87-54 victory over Utah Valley. In other words, starters are only seeing 20 minutes of playing time and it reflects in their stats.
AU Go To Guys
Freshman, Stanley Johnson, has started his collegiate career off on the right foot. He leads the Wildcats in scoring and when it really counted against teams like Gonzaga and San Diego State, he came up big on the offensive and defensive ends of the court. Consider this when placing your NCAA basketball pick. This is a young man with great size and he'll only get better. Expect a good game out of Jefferson this afternoon.
Sophomore, Rondae Hollis- Jefferson, is another player that can be counted on to provide toughness on both ends of the court. He's coming off of a double-double against Utah Valley in a mere 21 minutes played.
Lastly, center, Kaleb Tarczewski, had a big game last season against Michigan. He was fairly non-existent against Utah Valley. I expect him to be one of the top performers in this game. He needs to be more aggressive and Michigan is the perfect team to let some aggression out on.
NCAA Basketball Pick- Arizona -12.5 at 5Dimes