Florida Gators (20-15) vs Michigan Wolverines (29-6)
Saturday, March 23, 2019, 5:15 PM EST
Line: Michigan -6.5
Featured Matchup by James Gunnar
The 10th seeded Florida Gators will take on the 2nd seed Michigan Wolverines on Saturday night from Des Moines, Iowa. The Gators pulled off an upset in their first round matchup vs 7th seeded Nevada, 70-61. The Michigan Wolverines booked their spot in the second round after beating up on Montana, taking down the Grizzlies 74-55.
Florida appeared to play some of their best basketball in the SEC Tournament, taking down the Wildcats to reach the SEC Tournament Finals eventually losing to Auburn. However, their 1st round defensive effort vs Nevada proves their 21st ranked defense can lead them to NCAA Tournament victories. Kevarrius Hayes led the Gators with 16 points vs Nevada and Keyontae Johnson added 10 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists, and 3 steals. On the season, Florida averaged 68.3 PPG while allowing 63.6 PPG on defense.
The Michigan Wolverines proved worthy of a 2nd seed after pulling away from Montana in the 2nd half after emptying the bench. Michigan has been one of the top teams in the Big 10 and the country this season fueled by the 2nd ranked defense which allows 58.5 PPG and an offense that averages 70.5 PPG. Charles Matthews led the Wolverines with 22 points and a team-high 9 rebounds vs Montana.
Florida picked up an impressive win over a dangerous Nevada team but they face a battle-tested Michigan squad that finished 3rd in the Big 10. Michigan has just enough offense to support their suffocating defense and their bench depth will prove to be too much for the Gators. Florida had trouble closing out games this season and I expect a let down after their big win over Nevada. I like Michigan -6.5 in this second round matchup.
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