Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

March Madness

Villanova drawing strong support ahead of Michigan clash

Villanova drawing strong support ahead of Michigan clash

Second-seeded Villanova and #11 Michigan will square off Thursday in a South Regional semifinal in San Antonio in a battle of teams that have taken their knocks on the way to the Sweet 16.

Villanova (-4.5) has been backed by the most bets among teams in the Sweet 16 with 68 percent compared to Michigan’s 32 percent at BetMGM and the Wildcats are second with 73 percent of the spread handle.

They are 5.0-point favorites at BetRivers and DraftKings. The Wolverines had attracted only 40 percent of the bets and 44 of the spread handle at BetRivers as of Wednesday and 44 and 30 percent, respectively, at DraftKings.

This is the Wildcats’ second straight trip to the Sweet 16 and fourth since 2016. The last time they played in San Antonio, they beat Michigan in the 2018 national champion game.

The Wildcats (28-7) are coming off a 71-61 second-round victory over Ohio State on Sunday. Collin Gillespie paced Villanova with 20 points while Jermaine Sanders added 17 points, but it was the defense that made the difference down the stretch.

Up just two points, the Wildcats pulled away by holding Ohio State to just one field goal over the last five minutes.

“We continued to do what we do,” Gillespie said. “(Ohio State) was in a stretch where they were making shot after shot. We just said ‘attitude’ to one another and came together at the defensive end. We just tried to get stops and make the right play.”

The key to Villanova’s late-season success started with a record-breaking early season loss on its most recent trip to Texas — a 57-36 setback to Baylor on Dec. 12 in Waco. It set a dubious mark for the fewest points scored in Wright’s 21-year tenure as coach of the Wildcats.

Villanova subsequently dropped a Big East road game at Creighton by 20 points before turning things around. The Wildcats eventually finished second in the conference in the regular season and won the Big East tournament. Villanova enters Thursday’s game on a seven-game winning streak.

Michigan (19-14) heads to the Sweet 16 after beating third-seeded Tennessee 76-68 on Saturday in Indianapolis. Hunter Dickinson racked up a 27-point, 11-rebound double-double and Eli Brooks added 23 points to lead the Wolverines.

The duo of Brooks and Dickinson outscored the entire Tennessee roster in the second half, 33-31. Michigan held the Volunteers to 2 of 18 shooting from beyond the arc and didn’t allow a 3-pointer in the second half.

“There wasn’t really any doubt that this team is special,” Brooks said. “That starts with our coach believing in us and just the group of guys that are in the locker room. We have a good group of guys that have the same drive, the same passion. And that’s a credit to Juwan (Howard), the coaching staff, finding those guys out there that you like to be around.”

Michigan was in dire straits toward the end of the Big Ten campaign, losing four of its final eight regular-season games and then bowing out to Indiana in the first round of the conference tournament.

The Wolverines also had a stretch of games that were affected by COVID-19, played multiple games without Dickinson, and were without suspended coach Juwan Howard for five contests.

But when it has counted the most, Michigan has come together.

“Making it to the Sweet 16 is, as literal as it is, is sweet because nobody believed in us,” Dickinson said. “Everybody thought we shouldn’t be in the tournament. And now people that were hating on us are going home and about to watch us (this) week.”

–By Steve Habel, Field Level Media

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

PlayAction Podcast

SGPN | The Propcast | Week 4 NFL Player Props

NFL

Munaf Manji (@SportsNerd824) & Rod Villagomez (@rjvillagomez) of @TheSGPNetwork offer 5 player props each for Week 4.

SGPN | NFL Week 4 Afternoon Games & SNF Betting Preview
SGPN | NFL Week 4 Afternoon Games & SNF Betting Preview

NFL

The @SGPNNFL Pod covers the Week 4 late games as @SportsNerd824 & @ReichelRadio break down all four, including Tampa Bay & Kansas City.

SGPN | NFL Week 4 Picks
SGPN | NFL Week 4 Picks

NFL

The @GamblingPodcast guys pick every week 4 NFL game against the spread, including two locks, a ML dog and a three-team teaser

JetNation | Zach to Return vs Steelers
JetNation | Zach to Return vs Steelers

NFL

This week, @JetNation hosts Dylan Tereman & Glenn Naughton break down the Bengals loss, the return of QB Zach Wilson & the Steelers game.

SGPN | Diehard Eagles | Jaguars-Eagles Predictions
SGPN | Diehard Eagles | Jaguars-Eagles Predictions

NFL

The @DiehardEagles52 guys talk Philly's win over Wentz & WAS, Hurts' domination, rising expectations, 2nd half struggles,& picks vs JAX

Inside Pack Sports Live | NC State-Clemson Preview
Inside Pack Sports Live | NC State-Clemson Preview

NCAAF

The @InsidePackSport staff looks at tonight's NC State-Clemson showdown, matchups on both sides of the ball, key players & much more!

Buckeye Huddle | Is Michigan Football On Upset Alert & More
Buckeye Huddle | Is Michigan Football On Upset Alert & More

NCAAF

Tony Gerdeman of @BuckeyeHuddle joins host Tom Orr to break down Michigan-Iowa and the rest of this week’s biggest college football games.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Navy-Air Force Preview
SGPN | College Football Experience | Navy-Air Force Preview

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN previews Navy & Air Force. @TheColbyD is joined by AFA specialist @Falcon8fan of @HistoryFalcon to break it down.

SGPN | College Football Experience | Washington-UCLA Preview
SGPN | College Football Experience | Washington-UCLA Preview

NCAAF

SGPN's @TCEonSGPN previews Friday's Washington-UCLA game. @TheColbyD & @Scott_Bowser discuss whether Chip Kelly and UCLA will move to 5-0.