Date/Time: March 31st, 2:20 ET
College Basketball Odds from WagerWeb
Point Spread: Florida -2.5
A pair of teams with 29 wins are going to be in search of their 30th and most important wins of the season at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in the South Region, where the Florida Gators and the Michigan Wolverines will do battle with a spot in the Final Four on the line.
The Wolverines are officially the miracle workers of the tournament. They won the very first overtime game of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, beating the Kansas Jayhawks 87-85 in overtime. It certainly wasn’t without some drama though, as Big Blue had to come back from down eight points with less than a minute and a half left in the game to force the OT period. Not only did G Trey Burke hit the shot that we’ll all remember as the best shot of the tournament when he hit that three-ball with just a few seconds left in the game, but he also hit the shot that took an eight-point lead and cut it to five from basically the same spot on the court. Burke did all of this after putting up a horrid first half against Kansas. Michigan had no right winning that game, but thanks to the grit and tenacity that this starting five had, there was no denying the Wolverines. Each of the five starters scored in double figures, and aside from Burke, the biggest player of the game was C Mitch McGary, who battled with C Jeff Withey for the full 45 minutes and came up with 25 huge points and 14 rebounds.
The Gator Nation had to be worried over the course of the first 12 minutes of the game or so against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, as the boys from tiny little Fort Myers came out of the blocks leading 15-4. From that point forward though, the Gators really took over and asserted themselves as the most dominating basketball team in the state of Florida. The shooting percentages were lousy for the game on all accounts, but at least the team picked up a ton of offensive rebounds to put aside the A-Sun reps. This is the first time that the Florida Gators are going to be challenged though, knowing that they have had to face three double digit seeds to reach this point in the tournament. That being said, Head Coach Billy Donovan had better have his team ready for what’s coming, because the Wolverines aren’t going to back down, and if Florida falls behind 15-4 like it did to Florida Gulf Coast, it might not be able to get back up off of the mat.
The Gators are the real deal, and we do think that they are one of the best teams in the nation. That being said, we aren’t all that sure that they are ultimately going to be able to get the job done. Michigan has this aura around it right now, and it really believes that it can beat anyone in the land. McGary is playing the best basketball of his season, and Burke is doing the best job he has done in his two years in Ann Arbor. This seems a little bit like destiny right now for the Wolverines, and we think that they are going to march into their first Final Four since the days of the Fab Five, the team that this club is consistently related to. Michigan 70 – Florida 66
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.