Elite 8 2021: Updated Odds and Predictions for Tuesday's NCAA Tournament Games

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistMarch 30, 2021

Gonzaga forward Drew Timme (2) dunks against Creighton in the second half of a Sweet 16 game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Sunday, March 28, 2021. (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
AJ Mast/Associated Press

The Gonzaga Bulldogs and Michigan Wolverines can join the Baylor Bears as No. 1 seeds to qualify for the Final Four on Tuesday. 

Just like Baylor and the Houston Cougars on Monday, Gonzaga and Michigan are comfortable favorites against their Elite Eight foes. 

Gonzaga will face what many believe is its first true test of the NCAA men's basketball tournament versus the USC Trojans and likely top-three NBA draft pick Evan Mobley.

Michigan can also end a deep run by a Pac-12 team on Tuesday by defeating the UCLA Bruins. Although the Wolverines are the smaller favorite of the two higher seeds, they may have the easier path to covering and winning inside Lucas Oil Stadium.


Tuesday Elite Eight Schedule

No. 1 Gonzaga (-8) vs. No. 6 USC (Over/Under: 153) (7:15 p.m. ET, TBS)

No. 1 Michigan (-7) vs. No. 11 UCLA (O/U: 135.5) (9:57 p.m. ET, TBS)

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook.



Gonzaga (-8) vs. USC

USC will be toughest team Gonzaga has faced to date in the NCAA tournament, and possibly the entire season. 

Mobley is the best individual talent the Zags will go head-to-head with. They also played National Player of the Year favorite Luka Garza in December. 

Mobley is more athletic than Garza, and his career has a much higher ceiling than the Iowa Hawkeyes big man. 

The 7-footer has not been a dominant scoring force down low in the Big Dance because the guards around him have played so well.

That may have to change on Tuesday in Mobley's head-to-head matchup with Drew Timme, who is one of the front-runners for the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. 

Timme has 52 points in his last two games, and he has been able to control paint matchups all season with his positioning. 

Even if Timme matches Mobley's production down low, Gonzaga could be in good shape because of its strengths elsewhere on the court. 

Mark Few's team held its three NCAA tournament foes to 71 points or fewer. Its perimeter defense could be the key to adding USC to that total. 

The Creighton Bluejays shot 5-of-23 from three-point range in the Sweet 16, and the Oklahoma Sooners made just five of their 16 three-point attempts in the second round. 

USC has been hard to slow down from beyond the arc. It continued its hot streak with 10 three-point makes in its win over the Oregon Ducks. 

If Gonzaga limits the output of Tahj Eaddy, Isaiah White and Drew Peterson, it should gain the edge in the contest. 

It may take a while for that to happen since USC has come out hot in its three games, but Gonzaga has shown an ability all season to pull away from all of its foes, and that should be the case in the second half.


Michigan (-7) vs. UCLA

UCLA's mismatch with Michigan should finally be the one that ends its Cinderella run. 

Many thought the Bruins would not survive the Sweet 16 clash with the Alabama Crimson Tide, but the SEC champion dealt with some foul issues and was not as accurate from three-point range as it typically is. 

Similar to the other No. 1 seeds left in the NCAA tournament, Michigan does not rely on a single asset to put away teams. 

The Wolverines play complete team basketball, which was on display in the Sweet 16 win over the Florida State Seminoles.

Michigan has a handful of shooters that can get hot at any instant, a star freshman in the paint and a slew of tough defenders that have picked up the void left by the injured Isaiah Livers. 

Look for Franz Wagner and Eli Brooks to be the X-factors once again on defense. The two have stepped up in Livers' absence to make life difficult on opponents. 

In the second-round win over the LSU Tigers, Brooks and Wagner played strong defense down the stretch and also combined for 36 points. 

If the Wolverines get that type of production from the duo on Tuesday, UCLA may not have a shot to be competitive. 

Michigan has the defenders to shut down Johnny Juzang and the other UCLA guards, and Dickinson gives it an advantage down low. 

Since the Wolverines returned from their program-wide shutdown on February 14, they have held opponents below 70 points in eight of their 10 wins. 

Additionally, Michigan held three opponents beneath the 70-point mark in the four games Livers missed with a foot injury. 

If the Wolverines continue at that defensive pace, they should slow down the No. 11 seed and set up a potential Final Four with four top-two seeds.


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.

Statistics obtained from ESPN.com.

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