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Sweet 16 Betting Preview: Florida State vs Michigan

The Sweet 16 in the East region kicks off on Sunday, and one of the more intriguing matchups pits the No. 4 Florida State Seminoles (18-6) against the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines (22-4) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 5:00 P.M. Eastern.

Florida State rolled through the first weekend of play, beating No. 13 UNCG (64-54) and No. 5 Colorado (71-53). In the win over Colorado, guard Anthony Polite led the way with 22 points, five rebounds, and four assists.

Meanwhile, Michigan easily took down No. 16 Texas Southern (82-66) in the opening round and fended off No. 8 LSU (86-78) to get this far. Still, for a team with some inconsistencies down the stretch, they will have their work cut out for them to move onto the Elite Eight.

Michigan comes in as the slight favorite in this one. They are -142 to win while Florida State’s moneyline sits at +120. The spread features the Seminoles +2.5, while the over/under for total points is 143.5.

By The Numbers

Offensively, Florida State has been the slightly better team this season. They rank 26th in the nation in scoring, averaging 78 points per game (70 over their last three). Michigan ranks 40th averaging 76.8 points per game).

Defensively, it is Michigan with the edge. They rank 53rd overall, allowing opponents 65.9 points per game. Florida State ranks 121st allowing 68.9 points per game (62.3 over their last three).

Seminoles Seek to Take Down Top Seed

If last weekend was any indication, Florida State might be clicking at the right time. Even though they lost in the ACC tournament championship to Georgia State, they have still won three of their last four and have done so in impressive fashion. The Seminoles will hope to bring that play into this weekend to take down the Wolverines.

Leading the way for Florida State is senior guard M.J. Walker and junior forward Raiquan Gray. On the season, Walker is averaging 12.3 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 2.6 assists, while Gray is averaging 12 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals.

The Seminoles have two others averaging double digits. Guards Scottie Barnes (10.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals) and Anthony Polite (10.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals) have both been solid.

One of the keys for the Seminoles might be 7’1” sophomore Balsa Koprivica. With the Wolverines having such a formidable inside presence with Hunter Dickinson, Koprivica’s task is containing him.

Wolverines Working Through Injuries

It is never good to be without one of your best players, but that is precisely the situation in which Michigan finds itself. After injuring his foot, forward Isaiah Livers is out for the season, leaving a big void in production. He was their second-leading scorer, averaging 13.1 points, six rebounds, and two assists per game.

With him out, others are going to have to pick up their games. Freshman center Hunter Dickinson has led the way this season with 14.2 points and 7.5 rebounds. Guard Franz Wagner has also played well, averaging 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, three assists, and 1.3 steals.

The Wolverines will need increased production out of Eli Brooks (9.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, three assists), Mike Smith (9.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 5.4 assists), and Chaundee Brown (7.9 points, 2.9 rebounds) to win on Sunday.

The Pick is In

On paper, this should be one of the best matchups of the Sweet 16. Florida State’s size and length match up well against Michigan, especially without Livers.

The real key is who can control the interior. If Dickinson goes off, Michigan could be in good shape, but if Koprivica can limit the damage, Florida State has a good chance of winning.

With the potential for this one to go either way, choose a points bet rather than a moneyline bet. Florida State +2.5 seems like the right play here.

Free Betting Pick: Florida State +2.5.

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