NCAA Tournament

March Madness 2014 Bracket: Latest Picks and Odds Advice Before Sweet 16 Day 2

MILWAUKEE, WI - MARCH 22:  Jordan Morgan #52 of the Michigan Wolverines dunks the ball against the Texas Longhorns during the third round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BMO Harris Bradley Center on March 22, 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
Mike McGinnis/Getty Images
Donald WoodFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

The 2014 NCAA tournament has seen three of the most exciting rounds March Madness has ever seen, but the bracket is just heating up as the Sweet 16 continues on Friday.

Add in the Elite Eight competition that will take place on Saturday and Sunday, and the college basketball action during this year’s tournament should go down as some of the best in recent memory.

Here is all the vital bracket information basketball fans need, as well as the latest picks and odds heading into Friday’s action.

 

All Your Bracket Essentials

 

Bleacher Report

 

Friday's Sweet 16 Schedule, Picks and Odds
Date Regional Semifinals Time (ET) TV Predicted WinnerOdds
Fri, March 28 (11) Tennessee vs. (2) Michigan 7:15 p.m. CBS TennesseeMichigan -2.5
Fri, March 28 (7) Connecticut vs. (3) Iowa State 7:27 p.m. TBS UConnUConn -1.5
Fri, March 28 (8) Kentucky vs. (4) Louisville 9:45 p.m. CBS LouisvilleLouisville -4.5
Fri, March 28 (4) Michigan State vs. (1) Virginia 9:57 p.m. TBS Michigan StateMichigan State -2
Source: NCAA.com and VegasInsider.com

 

Friday’s Smartest Wager: No. 11 Tennessee over No. 2 Michigan

The first game on Friday’s Sweet 16 schedule is also the most exciting. When the No. 2 seed Michigan Wolverines (27-8, 15-3 Big Ten) square off against the No. 11 seed Tennessee Volunteers (24-12, 11-7 SEC), all eyes will be on this marquee matchup.

As the No. 2 seed, Michigan comes into the game as the clear betting favorite. With most gamblers looking at this matchup as one the Wolverines clearly should win, smart bettors are putting big wagers on the underdog Tennessee.

With one of the best defensive units in the nation and the size to shut down Michigan’s high-powered offense, the Volunteers will attack their opponents with a stingy defensive game plan.

Tennessee will not be stunned by anything Michigan throws its way, and Volunteers head coach Cuonzo Martin spoke about the adversity the program overcame to reach the Sweet 16, per Nicole Auerbach of USA Today:

Luckily for our guys, they stayed the course, didn't get caught up in the negativity and continued to get better not only as basketball players, but as men. That's probably the biggest thing I'm proud of — and their love for each other has really grown as a unit. … They took a lot of lumps, bumps along the way.

While Michigan deserves credit for putting together an excellent season, the school must utterly dominate from the field to win this game. The Wolverines averaged 75 points per game this season and were 21st in the nation with a .481 field-goal percentage.

Michigan’s biggest weakness was rebounding (303rd in the nation) this season, and Tennessee ranked 20th on the glass with 38.8 per game.

With the Volunteers possessing the size and strength to get the second-chance points, the underdog could pull off the outright victory on Friday.

Even if Tennessee doesn’t win the game, the team will cover the spread.

Predicted Final Score: Tennessee 76, Michigan 70

 

*Stats via ESPN.com.

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