We had a decent day yesterday, but the complete decimation of the Hoosiers capped the night with a bad loss. I had been talking about the matchup difficulties Indiana would have with Syracuse since before the tournament commenced, but after really digging through Syracuse’s losses; the style of teams that gave them trouble, I reversed field and became convinced IU had the right pieces to give the Cuse trouble. I thought Michael Carter-Williams would have a good game. I didn’t think he’d outscore his career high by six points and pour in 24…
It was an impressive performance by the Orange. Perhaps, aside from Michigan over VCU, or the FGCU run, it was the most performance in the tournament.
Speaking of Michigan, do they have another dominant jaw-dropper in their arsenal for tonight?? Let’s dig into tonight’s matchup and get a winning edge.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Kansas Jayhawks -1.5 – South Regional Semifinal
From a wagering perspective, this game is fascinating to me. The line opened at five points in Kansas’s favor, which is far too high. It is an indication of the general trend of the public to react to seed lines more than teams. Kansas is a #1, Michigan is #4, they must be vastly different teams, right?
For most of the season, Michigan was ranked ahead of the Jayhawks and their point guard, Trey Burke, was crowned national player of the year two days ago. Michigan left most fans slack-jawed with the way they eviscerated VCU last weekend and the line shrunk accordingly. As of this morning, it is now down to two or even 1.5 points in every major online sportsbook. That means TONS of public money went the way of the Wolverines…
So is the public right??
This should be an absolutely fantastic game. But I’d caution fans from getting too swept up by the VCU result, which was a tremendously favorable matchup for the personnel of Michigan. They will not enjoy the same natural matchup advantages against a pro-loaded Kansas team. They also will have to deal with the most influential shot blocker in the country, Jeff Withey.
Kansas is also one of the most veteran teams left in the draw. Freshman Ben McLemore is their most talented player, and has struggled mightily, but the remainder of that team is loaded with junior and senior talent. It is the perfect blend of youth, athleticism and experience. Withey, Elijah Johnson, Kevin Young and the vastly underrated Travis Relaford are all seniors. They played in the national championship last year. They’ve been in multiple Final Fours. Perhaps most importantly, they’ve played in BIG DOMES like the enormous, cavernous Cowboy Stadium they’ll be in tonight.
Michigan looked so good last week in the Palace, but Hardaway and Glen Robinson have been SO mercurial all season long, I am not willing to bet on them duplicating their shooting performance tonight. Likewise with overnight sensation Mitch McGarry. I like him as a player – he’s fantastic. But he’s not doing Jeff Withey the way he did VCU.
Give me Kansas tonight with the win, going against the public wave of sentiment. Be grateful the general public closed to the line to a much more ‘bettable’ number.
Free Pick: Kansas Jayhawks -1.5