NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan vs. Florida

David Lawrence

Saturday, March 30, 2013 6:38 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013 6:38 PM UTC

The Florida Gators are in their third straight Elite Eight. The Michigan Wolverines are in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994. A big game awaits us in a football palace, Cowboys Stadium.

College Basketball Betting – Michigan vs. Florida Elite Eight Picks

Michigan can win because…

It is overflowing with confidence and belief at the moment. The Wolverines have to think that they can do just about anything in the NCAA tournament at this point in time. They were down by 11 points with a little over three minutes left in regulation on Friday night against top-seeded Kansas. They appeared to be done and dusted. Michigan had not been able to defend the rim at all against the Jayhawks, who thoroughly outclassed the Wolverines and exposed all of Michigan's persistent deficiencies. Surely, Michigan's NCAA run was going to come to an end. However, Kansas committed a few key turnovers, while Michigan's Trey Burke hit a few low-percentage three-point shots – one from about 26 feet and another from 33 to 35 feet – to tie the score with 4.2 seconds left in regulation. Given a great deal of momentum in overtime, Michigan over-came the NCAA basketball odds then surged past Kansas. That was also thanks in large part to the efforts of big man Mitch McGary, whose 25 points and 14 rebounds kept the Wolverines in the game in the first 30 minutes, while Kansas controlled every other aspect of the competition.

Michigan's best player, Burke, and its most important player, McGary, are both delivering the goods for head coach John Beilein. If Burke and McGary both play at an elite level on Sunday, it's hard to see how Michigan won't win inside the home of the Dallas Cowboys.

Florida can win because…

The Gators make excellent defensive rotations. This is always the most notable and prominent asset Florida brings to a basketball game. The Gators are a veteran team that regularly brings a great deal of commitment to the defensive end of the floor. Florida works through screens and displays excellent help-and-recover technique in order to lock down shooters. Guard Scottie Wilbekin should be able to stay in front of Trey Burke and keep Michigan's foremost offensive weapon under control. Mike Rosario and Kenny Boynton should similarly be able to clamp down on Tim Hardaway, Jr., and Glenn Robinson III, limiting Michigan's scoring options and productivity on the wings. In the paint, Patric Young is a brawny, muscular big man who should be able to handle McGary and minimize the Michigan X-factor's impact on this contest. The ability of Florida to counter Michigan at the defensive end of the floor is the Gators' biggest strength on Sunday.

What also has to be said here is that if depth is an issue, it will work in Florida's favor. If you’re making sports picks on this game, know that Michigan has not gotten much of any production from its big men other than McGary this season. The Wolverines are vulnerable in the middle of their defense, meaning that Young should be able to get plenty of the six- or seven-foot jump hooks he likes to take in the middle of the paint. If Florida's guards - especially Wilbekin - can penetrate into the lane, the Gators should create lots of high-quality shot attempts.

And Duke vs. Louisville? What about that monster game?


Outlook & Betting Prediction:

This game will be close because Michigan is going to be extremely confident and will probably play with even more energy and focus than it displayed on Friday night against Kansas. However, when all is said and done, Florida – a team that has lost in the Elite Eight the past two seasons – will be slightly more motivated to get to the Final Four. Patric Young will outplay McGary in the game's most important one-on-one matchup. Take Florida with your NCAA basketball picks.

Free Pick: Florida -1.5 at

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