Michigan looks tasty at 12/1
Published on Tuesday, 3/26/13, at 7:05 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
To be clear, I still have Florida as my pick to win it all. However, you would have had to have blinders on to not recognize how nasty Michigan looked last week.
When I was on ESPN Radio in Las Vegas last week discussing the tournament with Adam Hill, I said, “Adam, I know it hasn’t worked out like this seeding-wise because Florida and Michigan lost several close games down the stretch, but I maintain what I’ve been saying since late November: Florida and Michigan have the most talent of any teams in the field.”
John Beilein’s team picked the perfect time to produce one of its best performances of the season this past Saturday afternoon. The Wolverines wreaked havoc on VCU’s vaunted press on their way to a 78-53 win over the Rams as 3.5-point favorites.
Freshman center Mitch McGary scored 21 points and pulled down 14 rebounds while making 10-of-11 shots from the field. Trey Burke bounced back from a shaky performance against the Jackrabbits to produced 18 points and seven assists.
Michigan advances to face top-seeded Kansas on Friday night at Cowboys Stadium. The winner will face the survivor of UF-FGCU on Sunday afternoon.
Most spots are listing KU as a two-point favorite with a total of 136 ½.
Louisville remains the ‘chalk’ to win the national championship in two weeks. Sportsbook.ag has the Cardinals’ odds reduced to 3/1. Indiana and Florida have the next-shortest odds at +450 and +500, respectively.
Miami has 7/1 odds, followed by Ohio St. and Duke at 8/1 apiece, while Kansas, Michigan St., Syracuse and Michigan share 12/1 odds.
Arizona has 25/1 odds, followed by Wichita St. (30/1), Marquette (40/1), Oregon (60/1), LaSalle (75/1) and Florida Gulf Coast (100/1).
If you’re looking for the best value with a future play at this point, I believe Michigan is the choice.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Miami will be without center Reggie Johnson this weekend due to a knee cap injury sustained in Sunday’s win over Illinois. Johnson didn’t even make the trip to Washington D.C. The Hurricanes remain hopeful that Johnson could play in Atlanta the following weekend. UM is now favored by five vs. Marquette.
–Minnesota fired Tubby Smith on Monday afternoon. Candidates to replace Smith might include Butler’s Brad Stevens, VCU’s Shaka Smart, Florida Gulf Coast’s Andy Enfield, Marquette’s Buzz Williams, former UCLA and Pitt coach Ben Howland and/or Wichita St.’s Gregg Marshall.
–Ben Howland is also out at UCLA. This search should be all about Butler’s Stevens or VCU’s Smart. However, Pitt’s Jamie Dixon might be the top choice even though he recently inked a 10-year extension with the Panthers. The Bruins will have plenty of quality options so they better get it right.
–Following its win over Ole Miss, LaSalle decided to stay in Kansas City instead of flying back to Philadelphia before a Tuesday trip to Los Angeles. The Explorers flew from KC to LA on Tuesday afternoon.
–Sportsbook has Florida as the -150 favorite to win the South Region and move on to Atlanta. Kansas is at +225 while Michigan is +300. Florida Gulf Coast has 25/1 odds to win two more games.
–Bobby Hurley has been named the new head coach at Buffalo.
–Matt Youmans of the Las Vegas Review-Journal wrapped up UNLV’s season in this column. The Runnin’ Rebels enter the off-season with a lot of uncertainty.
–Florida Gulf Coast sophomore point guard Brett Comer shared the backcourt with Austin Rivers as the duo led Winter Park High School to back-to-back state championships in 2010 and 2011. Celtics head coach Doc Rivers isn’t surprised to see Comer enjoying success. Comer had a pair of double-doubles in leading the Eagles to wins over Georgetown and San Diego St.