Michigan Slight Favorite for Sweet 16 Showdown with Florida State

GreatLakesStakes.com

By Bryce Derouin

In what has been a disappointing tournament showing for the Big Ten, the Michigan Wolverines remain the last team standing from the conference. Michigan advanced with an 86-78 win over No. 8 seed LSU on Monday and will now face fourth-seeded Florida State on Sunday.

Michigan opened as a -3 sports betting favorite on DraftKings and is now down to -2.5. The Wolverines’ moneyline sits at -139, while the point total is 144.

RELATED: More about Michigan sports betting and gaming

Residents across the state can wager on the game at any of the land-based casinos with a sportsbook, or online. The state of Michigan launched its mobile sports betting and online casino platforms on Jan. 22.

Florida State brings length

Florida State’s length will be one of the main points Michigan will have to contend with on Sunday. According to KenPom.com, Florida State is the tallest team in the country with an average height of 79.6 inches.

The Seminoles’ size is apparent in their backcourt, with MJ RayQuan Evans (6-foot-4), MJ Walker (6-5), Anthony Polite (6-6) and point forward Scottie Barnes (6-9).

In addition to a big backcourt, Florida State has a center to match up with Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson. Balsa Koprivica matches Dickinson’s height at 7-1.

“Well, we’ve faced a lot of different teams throughout the year, whether it’s in non-conference play or in Big Ten play and then leading up to postseason play, so all teams are different in a lot of ways but somewhat similar," Michigan coach Juwan Howard said. “Their length averages, what, 6 foot 8? Their wingspan is pretty long. Still gotta play the game, go out there and compete, and that’s what we’re looking forward to. We look forward to playing on Sunday.”

Much of Florida State’s success can be attributed to Barnes, who is projected as a top 10 pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Barnes averages 10.4 points, 4.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game.

Barnes is familiar with the Howard family after growing up in Florida and competing with Howard’s sons on the AAU circuit and in high school.

“We love Scottie, and of course, admired his success thus far at FSU,” Howard said. “So proud of him.”

Brown, Brooks step up for Michigan

Michigan has needed supplemental scoring in Isaiah Livers’ absence. Against LSU, it was Chaundee Brown and Eli Brooks, who each had 21 points and combined to make 13 of 20 shots.

Brown came off the bench to make 6 of 9 shots, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range. It was a bounce-back performance on the offensive end after he was scoreless in the first-round win over Texas Southern.

Brown hit a key 3 to give Michigan a 72-64 advantage over LSU with just 6:02 left in the game.

“Chaundee has been rock-steady all season long,” Howard said. “And he understands, and his teammates do understand this, that one guy might have it going one night, or two or three guys might have it going one night, offensively. But that doesn’t mean that we stop playing. We still have to compete on both ends of the floor. And tonight, Chaundee had it going.

Brooks was just as efficient, converting on 7 of 11 shots, including 5 of 9 from beyond the arc. But Brooks, who is 6-foot-1, will now have to contend with the length of Florida State’s perimeter defenders.

“Eli has been like this since the last year that I started coaching him,” Howard said. “He’s a basketball guy, has a high IQ, very underrated in a lot of ways — offensively and defensively. But within our family and within our culture, we know what he provides. And we’re very pleased with how he competes out there on the floor.”

Michigan biggest liability for FanDuel

Michigan is currently the biggest liability for FanDuel in regard to the men’s futures market. Bets on the Wolverines to win it all (+700) account for 18% of the overall handle. Only Gonzaga (+155) has a bigger handle with 39% of the wagers.

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WRITTEN BY
GreatLakesStakes.com
Bryce Derouin
Bryce joined GreatLakesStakes.com after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and has experience covering casinos and gambling.
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Bryce joined GreatLakesStakes.com after spending the last nine years covering high school and college sports throughout Michigan. He’s served as the primary Division II beat writer for Grand Valley State and Michigan Tech. Along with his newspaper background, he's worked in marketing and has experience covering casinos and gambling.
... Read More