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No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Play-in winner preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 1 Michigan and No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

Michigan Wolverines head coach Juwan Howard and center Hunter Dickinson during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 1 seed Michigan will face No. 16 seed Mount St. Mary’s in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Saturday, March 20
Game time: 3:00 p.m.
TV channel: CBS
Location: Mackey Arena

Odds: TBD

No. 1 Michigan

If we’re in agreement that the Gonzaga Bulldogs are in their own tier, the Michigan Wolverines might just be the closest to moving into that group if healthy. Michigan can get it done on both ends of the floor, ranking inside the top 10 in both adjusted offensive and defensive efficiency. The Wolverines went multiple weeks between games due to COVID in the Michigan athletic department, but they came back and haven’t missed a beat.

Freshman center Hunter Dickinson stands at 7-foot-1, 255 pounds and leads Michigan in points (15 per game), rebounds (7.8 per game) and blocks (1.6 per game). Senior forward Isaiah Livers is averaging 14.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists for the Wolverines, but might be out for the tournament due to a stress fracture in his foot. But Michigan is still looking like a real title contender in Juwan Howard’s second season in Ann Arbor.

Record: 20-4, 14-3 Big Ten
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 5
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 7
ATS: 17-7
Over Total: 9-15
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +500

No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s

The Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers are going back to the big dance for the sixth time in school history after defeating the Bryant Bulldogs 73-68 in the NEC championship. The No. 4 seed Mountaineers took down the No.1 seed Wagner Seahawks in the NEC semifinals to get a chance to compete for another conference title. Mount St. Mary’s finished the season with a record of 12-10. This season, the Mountaineers are only scoring 63.7 points per game, which is ranked 367th in the nation. But they are only allowing 62.3 points per game and are one of the better rebounding teams in the country (37.3 per game).

Two players to keep an eye for Mount St. Mary’s is junior guard Damian Chong Qui and junior forward Nana Opoku. Chong Qui leads the team in scoring and assists with 15.1 points and 5.5 assists per game. In the title game against Bryant, the 5-foot-8 guard had 21 points, eight rebounds, and five assists. Opoku is the Mountaineers’ second-leading scorer with 10.3 points per game and is the team’s best shot blocker with 2.0 blocks per game.

Record: 12-10, 9-7
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 287
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 137
ATS: 11-10
Over Total: 8-13
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A