March 6, 2012

NCAA Tournament Odds: Ohio vs. Michigan Preview

The Ohio Bobcats are going to look to make some history on Friday in the NCAA Tournament, as they try to pull off the upset of the Michigan Wolverines on the March Madness odds.

It was only two years ago that the Bobcats were able to pull off the upset as a No. 14 seed over a No. 3 Georgetown Hoyas team that many thought could have been in the Final Four that year. Now, they are back, and they are going to hope to get another big time scalp in this one against Michigan. The difference between this team and the one that beat Georgetown is that this one just doesn’t feel like it has the same level of depth. Sure, there are a ton of players that rotate in and out of the lineup as always, but in the end, the scoring really comes down to just five players, led by DJ Cooper and his 14.6 points per game. This is a man with a lot of flaws as well. He is turning the ball over a ton, and he shoots just 34.8 percent from the floor and 31.1 percent from beyond the arc. Still, though this wasn’t the team that had the No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament, the feel was always there that the Bobcats were going to get the job done, and they did just that by holding off the Akron Zips at the end of the league title game to get back to the madness of March.

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There are just a slew of teams that are littering the top of the bracket in the Big Ten, and Michigan is just another one thrown into the mix. The Wolverines played a brutal schedule this year, and they lived to tell about a lot of it. Wins against teams like the Ohio State Buckeyes, Indiana Hoosiers, Wisconsin Badgers, and Michigan State Spartans were all great, but they all had one things in common… they came at Crisler Arena. We have a real concern about whether this is a team that can win on the road or not. It was beaten by Indiana, Arkansas, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Virginia as guests, and there were some awfully ugly games at the outset of the season as well. But of course, when you really look at the nitty-gritty, you see a team that plays great defense and has three bona fide stars. Trey Burke can hit the bit shot when need be, and he averaged 14.8 points per game this year, while Tim Hardaway, Jr. was just behind him at 14.6 points per game. Zack Novak has been just lethal over the course of the season from long range, and his 41.6 shooting percent from downtown is what really makes this team go.

The Final Word: Michigan isn’t going to overlook this Ohio team, but we aren’t sure that it is going to make that much of a difference in terms of the cover. The Bobcats are going to get the job done and get back on an ATS winning route, though we do think that Michigan is going to find out a way to scratch out a gritty win against a gritty ball club.

Ohio Bobcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Pick: Ohio Bobcats +6

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Adam Markowitz

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.

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