Last Updated: 2017-03-22
The Michigan Wolverines seem to have the look of a team that has really gotten things together at the right time. They stumbled through some of their Big Ten schedule, but came on strong, winning the conference tournament, and have continued that momentum throughout the NCAA Tournament. On Thursday night they will have the opportunity to advance to the Elite 8 as they clash with the Oregon Ducks in the Midwest region semi-finals, tipping off at 7:09 PM ET at the Sprint Center in Kansas City. CBS will televise this Sweet 16 game, and VietBet customers will have the opportunity to place wagers while the game is in progress, thanks to the state-of-the-art software from Live Betting Ultra.
Michigan was 14-9 straight-up at one point in the season, but they have won 12 of their last 14 games, including a pair of wins over Purdue, which is still in the tournament, and an easy victory (71-56) over Wisconsin to win the Big Ten tournament championship. They had to win four games in four days under difficult circumstances, but that did not sap them of energy. The Maize and Blue have beaten Oklahoma State and Louisville in their two games in the Big Dance, and one of the attractive characteristics about the Wolverines is the fact that they could conceivably get a huge game out of just about anybody. Derrick Walton had 26 points for them in the opener against Oklahoma State, while Mo Wagner came back with 26 in the victory over Louisville. Michigan is now 7-1 ATS on neutral courts, which is not insignificant.
Oregon is still adjusting to the loss of center Chris Boucher, who injured his ACL during the Pac 12 tournament. They won their first round game over Iona rather easily, but had to struggle against Rhode Island last time out.
In the Sweet 16 betting odds posted on this game by the folks at VietBet, Michigan is the ever-so-slight favorite:
Michigan Wolverines -1
Oregon Ducks +1
Over 146.5 points -110
Under 146.5 points -110
Michigan is 340th in the nation in Adjusted Tempo, but because their offense is so efficient (third nationall, in fact, in Adjusted Efficiency), they average 75.2 points per game. They turn the ball over only 9.2 times per game, which is seventh best in the country; they are eighth-best in two-point shooting percentage and 29th in three-point percentage (38.6%). They also make their free throws (77.6%, 11th best nationwide), which could be important a close game, quite obviously. The flipside is that they are outside the top 200 in rebounding at both ends of the floor; they might be a little too dependent on three-pointers, which constitute 45% of their total field-goal attempts, and they are not an especially deep team. They have also allowed 37.5% shooting from downtown.
Can Oregon’s defense thwart what Michigan can do offensively? That’s an critical question for VietBet patrons to ponder. Indeed, they have done quite a job defending the perimeter, allowing only 31.2% three-pointers, but the loss of Boucher is significant, as, largely due to him, the team ranks number one in the nation in blocked shot percentage. But Jordan Bell, the 6-9 forward, can contribute in that area, as he averages 2.1 blocks per game. Oregon (79.4 ppg) also has the ability to simply outscore opponents. They are 16th in Adjusted Offensive Efficiency, and they do hit 55% of their two-pointers. Dillan Brooks (16.4 points per game) might be the best player on the floor, if he isn’t going to be overworked by his defensive assignment, which is likely going to be Michigan’s 6-10 forward DJ Wilson. But he does make 41.3% of his triples. Peyton Prichard, the freshman point guard, has been steady for the most part, although he committed four turnovers against Rhode Island. There is balance on this Ducks team, but the hot hand has belonged to Tyler Dorsey, the sophomore out of Los Angeles who has averaged 23.8 points over his last five games, shooting 64.6% from the field. If he goes cold, it might be a minor problem, but there are clearly other options available.
Oregon has played eight overs in its last nine games, while Michigan has gone 7-2-2 to the “over” in their last 11. Unquestionably, the offenses are better than the defenses in this one, so we will look for something perhaps a little more wide open than expected, going OVER the total in the Sweet 16 basketball betting odds.
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