Texas Tech Red Raiders (28-6) at Michigan Wolverines (30-6)
NCAA Basketball: Thursday, March 28, 2019, at 9:39 pm (Honda Center)
Lines & Odds: Michigan -2; Over/Under:126
March Madness Pick Texas Tech Red Raiders vs Michigan Wolverines
Both teams fresh off wins in the round of 32. Texas Tech defeated Buffalo despite the Bulls’ attempt to keep the contest close but the Red Raiders’ defensive prowess was too much to handle. On the other hand, the Michigan Wolverines took care of business against the Florida Gators, whom almost didn’t make it to face the Wolverines as the Nevada Wolf Pack almost made a complete comeback in the first round. Now that the Sweet Sixteen is here, two defensive wits in Texas Tech and Michigan will turn this contest into a defensive slugfest. So, the only question left to answer is…which team will advance to the Elite Eight?
Texas Tech Red Raiders (28-6) #3
The Red Raiders controlled the game against the Buffalo Bulls in a 78-58 victory. The Sweet Sixteen will be more of a challenge as Texas Tech will meet a team in the MIchigan Wolverines, whom are slightly better defensively as the Wolverines hold opponents to 58.2 PPG (2nd) while the Red Raiders hold opponents to 59.2 PPG (3rd). In order for the Red Raiders to win this potential defensive slugfest, they will need to force the Wolverines into inefficient shot selection as well as slowing down ball movement and crashing the offensive boards. While the Red Raiders will need to feed on the weaknesses of the Wolverines,’Texas Tech’s strengths is what helped to them win games throughout the season, mainly through their scoring defense as they are a very athletic unit, collecting 247 steals (52nd) and 168 blocks (11th) for the season. The Red Raiders will need to also take advantage of their efficient scoring offense as they shoot 47.4% (39th) from the field, 53.2% (66th) from two-point range, 36.7% (66th) from three-point range, and 72.5% (110th) from the free throw line if they want to outlast Michigan.
Michigan Wolverines (30-6) #2
The Wolverines are back on track after losing the Big Ten Tournament Championship to Michigan State a couple weeks ago. Now, the Sweet Sixteen awaits them, matching up against their defensive evil twin, Texas Tech, who was a defensive nightmare for teams this season, holding opponents to 59.2 PPG (3rd). However, the Red Raiders are a “middle of the pack” rebounding team as they pulled down 1,168 rebounds (163rd) this season. That is one of the ways to blueprint for the Red Raiders. Other ways Michigan can prepare for the Red Raiders are crashing the offensive boards as Texas Tech pulled down 299 (229th), clog passing lanes as they dished 458 assists (133rd), and force turnovers as the Red Raiders committed 421 turnovers (171st) for the season. On the other hand, Michigan’s strengths they will rely on to win this matchup are: ball movement as they rank 52nd in the nation with 503 assists and 320 turnovers (5th). The two factors are crucial to the Wolverines’ success as they heavily rely on efficient shot selection as well as limiting scoring opportunities for teams by limiting turnovers.
March Madness Prediction Texas Tech Raiders vs Michigan Wolverines
This will be an “all-out” war between two great defensive minded teams.While Texas Tech has a more efficient offense, Michigan are a low turnover team. The key ingredient for both teams is creating offense. Texas Tech has that edge as they average 73.2 PPG (155th) in contrast to MIchigan’s 70.3 PPG (246th). Offensive rebounds are also key to an offense as it can create scoring opportunities. However, turnovers is the true contributor to this game, especially in a potential defensive warfare, where possessions are limited, which leads to scoring being minimized. The Wolverines holds the edge in that department as they are a low turnover team. In addition, they are one of the best defensive rebounding teams in nation, ranking 15th with 980 this season. Michigan wins this matchup by a hair.