On Monday, the Round of 32 of the NCAA Basketball Tournament (aka the second round) continues with eight games that constitute half of the second-round games. For the 2020-2021 season, 347 college basketball teams played and only 24 have a chance of winning the championship. Of all the second round NCAA Tournament matchups on Monday, one of the most compelling is the matchup between Michigan and LSU.
LSU Tigers vs. Michigan Wolverines
Monday, March 22, 2021 – 07:10 PM EDT at Lucas Oil Stadium Unity
- Michigan (1): 21-4
- LSU (8): 19-9
Stakes of the Matchup
The Wolverines play in the Big Ten Conference, which was rated as the strongest conference in the country according to basketball analytics website KenPom. During the regular season Michigan finished with the best record in conference play as they had a 14-3 conference record, and a 21-4 overall record. Despite losing to Illinois in the Big Ten Conference tournament, UM still was given a one seed based on their strong body of work during the regular season. Currently KenPom ranks Michigan as the third best team in the country.
LSU while not as good as Michigan, did respectably well this season. Playing in the SEC the 4th strongest conference, LSU amassed a 19-9 overall record with a 11-6 record in conference play. Most impressively, the Tigers narrowly lost to second seeded Alabama in the SEC Conference Championship. Currently KenPom ranks LSU as the 23rd best team in the country, which while impressive still represents a giant gap with Michigan’s level of talent.
How Michigan and LSU Match-up
Michigan has the 8th best adjusted offensive efficiency and 6th best adjusted defensive efficiency in the country. Additionally, the Wolverines are a slow tempo team that will look to control the pace if they get to an early lead against LSU. On paper Michigan does not have a clear weakness. Additionally, UM despite playing the 16th strongest schedule in the country this season, had an average scoring margin of +11.1, which was the 14th best in the country this season.
LSU like Michigan has a strong offense as they have the 5th best adjusted offensive efficiency in the country. Unlike the Wolverines, the Tigers are an up-tempo team. LSU is going to look to jump to an early large lead based on their style of play, while Michigan will look to be more methodical.
Unfortunately for the Tigers, they have the 2nd worst adjusted defensive efficiency of the remaining NCAA Tournament teams. During the regular season LSU allowed 74.8 points per game, which was 9.4 more points per game than Michigan. If the Wolverines win, it will be because their offense takes advantage of a weak Tigers defense.
I am skeptical of any betting on any Michigan futures as they must face a gauntlet of teams to make the final four. If they beat LSU, they must face either Colorado or FSU, then most likely face Alabama in the Elite 8. However, even though LSU has a plausible chance of winning, Michigan should easily beat LSU.
That is why I like Michigan to cover as five-point favorites because I could easily see Monday night’s game getting ugly for LSU. Michigan has dominated several tough opponents this season and LSU has a weak defense. I believe that Michigan will surgically destroy LSU and that is why I like the Michigan spread.
College Basketball Pick: Michigan Spread -5 (-107) (DraftKings)