Friday, March 28, 2014

Tennessee vs. Michigan Breakdown & Prediction

No. 11 Tennessee vs. No. 2 Michigan
Time: 7:15PM ET
Venue: Lucas Oil Stadium
Records: Tennessee 24-12; Michigan 27-8
Tennessee stat leaders: Points – Jordan McRae (18.6 ppg); Rebounds – Jarnell Stokes (10.7 rpg); Assists – McRae (2.5 apg); Steals – Darius Thompson (1.0 spg).
Michigan stat leaders: Points – Nik Stauskas (17.4 ppg); Rebounds – Jordan Morgan (5.0 rpg); Assists – Stauskas (3.3 apg); Steals – Caris LeVert (1.1 spg).
Current Streaks: Tennessee W3, Michigan W2
Point Spread: Michigan -2.5
Prediction: The hype around Tennessee basketball has really grown in a week. The Vols have gone from a team that might not make the NCAA Tournament to a potential Final Four contender. There is some validity to the hype, but I think you also have to consider what the Volunteers have been up against in the tournament thus far. They beat an Iowa team that collapsed, a UMass team that everyone thought was going to lose to no matter who it played and a Mercer team that was clearly outmatched. Tennessee is going to be seriously tested today in multiple ways. First is by the environment. Lucas Oil Stadium is a big venue and playing a game in such an open space can be tough to adjust to. Michigan has the luxury of having that experience from last year’s games in Cowboys Stadium. The second test will come from the Wolverines. Michigan is the best shooting team the Vols have seen in some time. Tennessee’s defense is not outstanding, so the Wolverines should get their looks from beyond the arc. Michigan will look to push the pace to fatigue Tennessee’s bigs. The Vols have the size to pose a problem for Michigan, but we also thought that about Texas, and Michigan shot too well for it to be a real problem. I like what Tennessee has done, but the Volunteers have yet to beat a ranked opponent (at the time of the game) this season and I don’t see it happening tonight. Michigan has the talent and the experience to win this game. Michigan 78, Tennessee 68

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