The top-seeded Michigan Wolverines and the eleventh-seeded UCLA Bruins both passed their respective Sweet Sixteen tests on Sunday to get to this point. Now just 40 minutes at Lucas Oil Stadium separates one of these teams from an East Region title and a trip to the Final Four.
This Elite Eight matchup will be held on Tuesday, Mar. 30 at 9:57 p.m. ET on TBS. Michigan enters as a 7.5 point favorite.
First Four: Defeated No. 11 Michigan State 86-80 (OT)
First round: Defeated No. 6 BYU 73-62
Second round: Defeated No. 14 Abilene Christian 67-47
Third round: Defeated No. 2 Alabama 88-78 (OT)
KenPom rating: 16 Overall, 11 Offense, 56 Defense
Leading scorer: Johnny Juzang (15.1 ppg)
Key stat: 2-3 against KenPom top-10 teams this year.
UCLA’s surprise run through the tournament continued on Sunday when upending No. 2 Alabama in a statement 88-78 overtime victory. Factors that have led to the Bruins reaching their first Elite Eight since 2008 have been them holding each tournament opponent to under 33 percent shooting from three and winning the turnover battle with a turnover margin of +18 through their four victories.
Sophomore guard Johnny Juzang has emerged as a darkhorse Most Outstanding Player candidate in Indianapolis by averaging 20 points and four rebounds in his four games in the tourney. He put up 13 and four against Alabama before fouling out late.
Look for the Bruins to once again try to win the turnover battle once again with Michigan ranking 336th in defensive turnover percentage per KenPom.
No. 1 Michigan 23-4 (14-3 Big Ten)
First Round: Defeated No. 16 Texas Southern 82-66
Second Round: Defeated No. 8 LSU 86-78
Third Round: Defeated No. 4 Florida State 76-58
KenPom rating: 4 Overall, 8 Offense, 11 Defense
Leading scorer: Hunter Dickinson (14.2 ppg)
Key stat: Michigan is 5-2 against KenPom top-15 teams this year.
Juwan Howard and his top-seeded Michigan Wolverines are on the doorstep of a Final Four appearance and a dominant 76-58 Sweet Sixteen win over Florida State sent a message that they’re still a dangerous out even without Isaiah Livers. The Wolverines have hovered around 50 percent shooting from the field and have held all three of their tourney opponents to 40 percent shooting or under in each of their outings.
Freshman center Hunter Dickinson has been a consistent force in the paint for Michigan, following up his double-double effort against LSU with 14 points, eight rebounds and two blocks against Florida State.
Speaking of rebounds, the Maize and Blue have outrebounded tournament opponents by a margin of 25 so look for them to attack the boards once again against a UCLA team that has been outrebounded themselves in three of their four tournament games.
March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Michigan -7.5
Point total: 136
Moneyline: UCLA +275, Michigan -345
Against The Spread Pick: UCLA +7.5
Point total pick: Over 136
Pick to Win: Michigan
UCLA is riding a four-game winning steak and their prior to losses to fellow Elite Eight opponents USC and Oregon State came by a combined five points. The Bruins will be game to make this a nail biter but ultimately, the size of Michigan will propel them towards the Final Four.
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