The Big Ten put in a disastrous showing over the weekend, with only two of the nine teams making it to the Sweet 16, including losses by No. 4 seed Illinois and No. 3 seed Wisconsin.
The remaining Big Ten teams in the tournament include No. 3 Purdue and… No. 11 Michigan?
After a roller coaster ride of a season, Michigan is back in the Sweet 16 for the fifth straight season. Juwan Howard’s Wolverines will play Jay Wright’s Wildcats, who are run like a Fortune 500 Company, in the cheeky words on Jon Rothstein.
Wright will be hard to take down, but do the frisky Wolverines have a chance to cover the spread? Here is our Michigan vs Villanova picks and predictions for Thursday’s exciting south regional matchup.
Villanova vs Michigan Odds
Villanova vs Michigan March Madness odds are current as of Monday, March 21, at 5 p.m. ET via Caesars Sportsbook.
- Moneyline: Villanova (-220), Michigan (+180)
- Spread: Villanova -5 (-110), Michigan +5 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 135.5 (-110) / Under 135.5 (-110)
- Implied Score: Villanova 70.25, Michigan 65.25
Basketball Betting Play of the Day
Slam home your basketball bets with BetMGM’s welcome offer: New BetMGM Sportsbook customers can bet $10 to win $200 in free bets.
Make a $10 moneyline bet on any game. If either team makes a three-point basket, you’ll win!
🏀 NBA Bet $10, Win $200: .
Read Anthony Cervino’s hands-on BetMGM Sportsbook review to learn more.
🤔 Want a different BetMGM welcome offer? New users can instead get up to $1,000 risk-free with code GAMEDAY. 👇
Villanova vs Michigan Prediction
Michigan’s resolve and resilience in its two tournament games have been impressive. And it’s also something Michigan fans wish the team had all season.
Additionally, the defense has taken a huge step forward. During this run, Michigan held back-to-back teams under 1.00 PPP for the first time since non-conference play. That’s impressive considering how good David Roddy (Colorado State) and Kennedy Chandler (Tennessee) have been.
But Villanova will be a whole different challenge. The Wildcat offense is a buzzsaw, and it sliced through Delaware and Ohio State to the tune of 1.25 PPP. Villanova shot 21-for-51 (41.1 percent) from deep during the two double-digit victories.
If I’m a Michigan fan, that worries me. Michigan’s two tournament opponents shot 14-for-53 (26.4 percent) from deep, and I’d expect regression on that number, especially facing the Super “Nova” that is the Wildcat offense.
However, Michigan will have edges on the offensive end. Specifically with Hunter Dickinson, who is one of the dominant big men in college hoops.
Dickinson has been the face of the Wolverines for two years now, and he’s also been the entire offense. He’s put up a combined 48 points on 16-for-23 (69.5 percent) shooting in two tournament games, and the Michigan offense withers without him on the court.
Meanwhile, Wright likes to play a small-ball offensive-minded lineup. It’ll be hard to contain the 7-foot-1, 260 pound Dickinson with Jermaine Samuels (6-foot-7) and Eric Dixon (6-foot-8).
Villanova vs Michigan Score Pick
Villanova 73, Michigan 65
Villanova’s interior defensive metrics are solid. Wright will just throw bodies at big men, and the Wildcats are top-75 nationally in defensive efficiency against post-up sets and at the rim. Villanova contained E.J. Liddell last game, and I expect them to do the same against Dickinson.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats’ offense lives on the perimeter, and that’s where Michigan’s weaknesses lie. Even if the Wolverines held its tournament opponents to low 3-point shooting splits, it’s only a two-game sample size begging for regression.
Villanova will force that regression and win considerably.
Villanova vs Michigan Best Bet
Villanova -5 (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1 Unit
This was an impressive tournament run from Michigan, but it took two second-half comebacks and some great shooting luck to make it happen.
It’s time to fade Michigan, which I believe is slightly overvalued at this number.
The Wildcats will pass crisply around the perimeter and find the open 3-point shooter, and Michigan doesn’t have the personnel to handle that. I expect Collin Gillespie to rain fire and fury on the Michigan defense.
Meanwhile, Villanova’s defense should do just enough to handle Dickinson. Other than the center position, Villanova has the size and defensive advantage at every other position.
It’s also clear that Villanova has the coaching advantage, as every person reading this would take Wright over Howard to run a program, including Michigan fans.
The rock-solid Wolverines will advance to the Elite Eight for the third time in the past six tournaments, which fuels my CBB bet of the day.