Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs Michigan Wolverines (-4, 143.5 O/U)
A date with no. 6 Notre Dame awaits the winner of tonight’s play-in game between the Michigan Wolverines (22-12, 10-8 Big Ten) and Tulsa Golden Hurricane (20-11, 12-6 AAC) in Dayton, Ohio (9:10 PM Eastern). Stat heads like Wolverines’ chances at pulling off an upset against the Irish, but they’ll have to get by a game Tulsa team first.
The Wolverines enter this game fresh off an upset of the then 10th ranked Indiana Hoosiers in the Big Ten tournament. Still, Michigan can’t be thrilled to see an opponent from the American Conference. In two games against AAC opponents this year, the Wolverines lost by a combined 38 points (24 to SMU and 14 to Connecticut).
Tulsa can’t be feeling as spry after losing two of their last three games to Memphis. In fact, the only reason the Golden Hurricane grabbed the final tournament spot was because UConn beat the Tigers in the AAC title game.
But sneaking in by the skin of your teeth is better than watching the game at home (if you can even find what channel it’s on). And it should be a well-contested game between these teams: both are good at pressuring the opposition into turnovers. However, Michigan appears to have a major advantage in the perimeter game. The Wolverines live and die with the three, getting 39.1-percent of their points from beyond the arc. Meanwhile, Tulsa is awful at getting out to the edges, allowing opponents to shoot 36.3-percent from downtown.
The Golden Hurricane, themselves, shoot just 32.9-percent from three, preferring to work it inside and drive the basket. Tulsa is good at getting to the line, but not so great at capitalizing, shooting just 67.8-percent from the charity stripe. They shouldn’t expect many free buckets anyways: Michigan takes the sixth-fewest personal fouls in the NCAA.
Neither team is hot against the spread heading into this one, failing to cover in four of their last five. They were also pretty average on the year as a whole, with Michigan 16-16 ATS and Tulsa 14-13-3.
The Wolverines last two wins have come down to last-second shots, but this one is shaping up to be a more comfortable win. In the rival Buckeye state, take Michigan to emerge triumphant.
Pick: Michigan (-4).
(Photo Credit: MGoBlog (Originally uploaded to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/].)
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