7 Texas A&M vs 3 Michigan (-2.5)
Texas A&M was ranked as high as No. 5 in December after starting the season 11-1. A five-game losing streak ensued, a string of so-so play that A&M never really busted out of until the NCAA tournament. A&M brings a loaded frontcourt with Robert Williams and Tyler Davis but it has been the emergence of freshman point guard TJ Sparks that has provided the front court stability during the first two rounds. Sparks was unstoppable in the Aggies second round matchup with the vaunted North Carolina Tarheels, gashing the heels for 21points and 5 assists. Texas A&M are a dangerous team with NBA level talent, they have spent a lot of the year playing inconsistently, their 9-9 record and first round departure in the SEC tournament shows they have vulnerabilities.
Michigan enters this game on a high after the miraculous shot from freshman Jordan Poole pushed them past a very game Houston Cougars team. Michigan’s defense is elite, they are the best defensive team left in college basketball. Teams have shot 34.5 percent, but they have yet to face a team that will be working from the inside out like Texas A & M. Charles Matthews has been a key guy thus far in the Big Dance for Michigan. The Kentucky transfer leads the team with a 15.5 scoring average. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman has been good on both ends, ranking No. 2 in scoring with an 11.5 average while playing good defense. Still, keep an eye on Matthews, who is hot and matches up well with the Aggies. With Michigan outmanned down low, wing players like Matthews need to excel. While I do believe Mathews will play a big role, keeping Moritz Wagner out of foul trouble will also be key for Michigan on the offensive end.
I have gone back and forth on this game. Texas A&M has a future NBA starter in Robert Williams but their inconsistencies are tough to look past against a very strong Michigan defense. I also consider John Beilien to be one of the most underrated coaches in college basketball. Michigan will suffocate the Aggies guards all day and Robert Williams talent will be matched by Wagner’s skill. Give me the Wolverines moving on and covering. If the line moves up i would be cautious.