Florida State, Michigan Tussle in Elite Eight Throwdown

Jay Pryce

Friday, March 23, 2018 1:04 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 23, 2018 1:04 PM UTC

Ninth-seeded Florida State and three seed Michigan clash in the Elite Eight on Saturday (8:49 p.m. ET) for the West Regional crown. The Wolverines opened as 4.5-point favorites. Our best bet zeroes in on a total of 143. 

No. 9 Florida State vs. No. 3 MichiganWest Region, Saturday, Los Angeles, 8:49 p.m. ETFree NCAAB Pick: Under 143Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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Ninth-seeded Florida State advanced to the Elite Eight for the third time in school history Thursday after knocking off short-handed No. 4 Gonzaga 75-60 in the West Region semifinal. It is the program's first trip since 1993; it made the Final Four once, in 1972.

The Seminoles’ depth was already a boon headed into the Zags matchup as they field 10 players averaging more than 10 minutes per game. The Bulldogs play a seven-man rotation but were without forward Killian Tillie for the clash. The big man re-aggravated a lingering hip injury in practice on Tuesday. Coach Leonard Hamilton’s squad took advantage, out-defending, out-hustling and out-shooting the Zags the entire contest.

The energy and relentless pressure afforded by Florida State’s deep bench is proving the difference-maker in the tournament, disposing of three straight higher seeds. It’s hard to prepare for and execute against. The Seminoles roll out nine players averaging between 6.5 and 12.9 points per game. Hamilton’s team composition and plan of attack is just as tough for bettors to measure on paper in March. The Noles are a remarkable 9-2 SU and ATS as single-digit underdogs on a neutral court since 2006.

Michigan’s betting record is equally impressive this time of year in specific situations. After routing Texas A&M 99-72 as 2.5-point chalk on Thursday, the Wolverines are now 19-1 SU and 13-6-1 ATS all-time as favorites behind coach John Beilein on neutral hardwood in the months of March and April. Oddsmakers opened Big Blue 4.5-point chalk vs. the Seminoles.

Despite Michigan coming up one point shy of hitting the century mark against the Aggies, strong defense and a grind-it-out mentality have characterized this team of late. The team ranks 3rd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency nationally. Since gifting 92 on a road trip to Purdue in late January, the Wolverines are yielding 61.4 points per game in regulation on 40.8 percent shooting. Texas A&M’s point 72 points were the most allowed in this span without going into overtime.

The Wolverines roll out a starting lineup averaging 6-foot-6 in height, anchored by 6-foot-11 forward and team leading scorer Moritz Wagner (14.4 ppg). Their defense is one of best at packing the paint and protecting the rim. It allows just 24.9 percent of opponents' shot attempts within three feet of the iron, eighth fewest nationally. Moe’s recap of Michigan’s Sweet 16 win sums up the squad's plan of attack in nearly every matchup. Watch:

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How many wins until the Final Four?

☝️ Mo. @moritz_weasley chatted with @BTNRickPizzo postgame: pic.twitter.com/7IGY11oy6J

— Michigan On BTN (@MichiganOnBTN) March 23, 2018

In the Beilein era, the Wolverines are 2-3 SU and 3-2 ATS vs. ACC competition on a neutral court. They have caught points in each (7.3 average). The ‘under’ is 3-1-1, an average 133.4 final score staying 6.3 points south of a 139.7 total. Not one team has scored more than 73 points in any contest. All five ACC programs failed to reach their projected team total by 5.1 points per game.

This matchup is a race to 70 points, and the Seminoles will likely come up short. Since the NCAA sped up the shot clock in 2015, Hamilton’s men average 67.5 points per game on 41.1 percent from the floor when underdogs against a defense surrendering 68 points or fewer per contest. The Wolverines yield 63.2 for the year. The Noles defense, meanwhile, will be fiery, persistent and full of vigor, giving Michigan its sternest test yet. The Noles could shock here, but ‘under’ 143 offers the most bang for one’s buck in the betting market.

Check out SBR’s college basketball odds page for updated lines. Also, head over to the March Madness Betting Headquarters for vital handicapping information, picks, and a list of the best sports books and live betting options for the tournament season.

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