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Tennessee vs. Michigan

Betting Line: Tennessee -2

3/18/11

The eighth seeded Michigan Wolverines (20-13) are back to the Big Dance for the second time since 1998 and the first time since 2009. They will do battle with the Tennessee Volunteers (19-14). Both of these teams have had tremendous ups and downs and in a normal year they probably would not have been included in the NCAA Tournament. Ifs and buts do not matter though as they are here and will give it their all to stay alive going forward. Their best games this year are good enough to knock some teams off down the stretch, but the winner will have their work cut out for them as they will play defending champs Duke in the next round.

Michigan was strong down the stretch winning 9 of their last 13 games. Out of conference they posted wins against Clemson and Harvard. They also beat a scrappy Oakland team. Conference wins came against Michigan, Penn State (twice), Michigan State (twice) and Illinois. They were only 7-9 against NCAA Tournament teams, but did only lose to Syracuse by 3 and took Kansas to OT. Wisconsin beat them by 1 and Ohio State by just 4 points in their first meeting.

Freshman G Tim Hardaway Jr (13.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG) leads the charge for Michigan. He posted a career high 30 points in a 3 point win over Iowa last month. If needed he can score big points, despite being a freshman. Sophomore G Darius Morris (15.2 PPG, 6.7 APG) is the most important player on team. He does a great job of distributing the ball.

Tennessee has an experienced team that knows how to win games, but they are sort of like the book Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Which one is going to show up for this game? The good one or the bad one? They won their first 7 games including victories over Villanova and Pittsburgh. They beat 30 win Belmont and Vanderbilt twice. This team was 4-7 in their last 11 games and that is very concerning.

Will Smith from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire look alike Scotty Hopson (17.4 PPG, 3.4 RPG) leads the team in scoring. The junior can really break loose when he is feeling it as he proved by scoring 27 against Pittsburgh. Freshman Tobias Harris (15.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG) will be the x factor. The Volunteers need him to crash the boards and help Hopson get points on the board.

Predicted Score: Michigan 65 Tennessee 64

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