Final Four Betting Odds Preview: Michigan vs Syracuse and Louisville vs Wichita State

Payne Insider - Posted on 06 April 2013

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Written By: Billy Attridge @WATT_05

Final Four Betting Odds Preview:

#1 Louisville (33-5) vs. #9 Wichita State (30-8), 6:09 pm EST
Line Opened: Louisville-10, 130.5
Current: Lousiville-10.5, 132.5

Key Factors:
Louisville’s Defensive Pressure -The pressure that Russ Smith and Peyton Siva put on opposing guards in the full court is suffocating, and as long as referees are allowing them to guard in such a physical nature, it will continue to be. They currently own the best Defensive Assist to Turnover Ratio in the country (0.546), and are 2nd in Defensive Turnover per Offensive Poss. (23.5%). Wichita State is 94th in A/T ratio (1.07), and 198th in Turnover per Offensive Poss. (19.5%). While Wichita State did play (and beat) VCU, the quickness and defensive rotation of Louisville is at another level at this point in the year.

Field Goal %- In their four tournament games, Louisville is shooting 55.075% from the field, which is 5% better than the #1 shooting team this year, Creighton (50.1%). This spike can be attributed to forcing turnovers leading to easy buckets in transition. The Cardinals ability to beat the defender off the dribble (again, Smith and Siva) forces help side defense and open looks for C Gorgui Dieng under the basket, who just so happens to be 20-24 in the tournament (83.3%). Wichita State is stingy on defense, and has been consistently good all year. In the tournament they have held 3 of the top 15 Offensive Efficient Teams (Pitt, Gonzaga, Ohio State) under 36% from the field.

Wichita State’s Rebounding Advantage- Wichita State crashes the boards on both ends of the floor effectively. They rank 9th in the country in Defensive Rebounding % (76.2), and 14th in Offensive Rebounding % (37.6). The Shockers do a terrific job at team rebounding, as 6 of their top 7 players (minutes) average at least 2.6 RPG. When guards buy into the concept of team rebounding, second chance points are hard to come by. Louisville does rebound effectively on the offensive end (11th) but gives up plenty of boards on the defensive side (168th).

Situational- The motivation angle coming from Kevin Ware’s injury and the fact the tournament is being played in his hometown Atlanta cannot hurt their chances. Louisville should also be the crowd favorite, and you have to wonder whether the long layoff might cool down the Shockers 3-point % (45% last 3 games), and regress back to mean (34%)

Conclusion: How this game is officiated is huge. I do lean Wichita State at 10.5, mainly because Gregg Marshall is great off of a long delay, and I think Wichita State will try and make this a half-court game on both ends. They are 7-2 vs. RPI Top 50, and if the number gets to 11, it’s a sure play. The total might get pushed to 133 or 133.5, as 88% of public tickets written are on the over. If it reaches 133, I would look under.

#4 Michigan (30-7) vs. #4 Syracuse (30-9), 8:49 pm EST
Line Opened: BOL SYR-1.5, CRIS-Pick, PINN- Mich-2, 131
Current: Michigan-2, 131

Key Factors:
Michigan’s Offensive Efficiency- The Wolverines are 1st overall in Offensive Turnover % (14.2%), mainly due to outstanding guard play by POY candidate Trey Burke, who personally carries better than a 3:1 Assist to Turnover ratio. Their ability to rotate the ball around the perimeter quickly enables them to get off quality 3-point looks. They are 17th in the country in 3-point % (38.5), and 2nd in the country in Points per Poss. (1.16). The emergence of Freshman F Mitch McGary gives Michigan solid size and toughness in the paint, and a legitimate inside-out game.

Syracuse’s 2-3 Zone- Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone is giving opponents fits in the tournament, mainly due to their size and arm length. Jim Boeheim recruits long, athletic bodies that suit his zone, and with an average height of 6’7, his talented group of guys can close out quick and disrupt shooters anywhere on the court. They have held opponents to an average of 18.35% from 3-point range in the tournament, and this includes Montana and Indiana, who both shot north of 37% behind the arc this year. Syracuse ranks 2nd in the country in Block % (11.6%), and 7th in the country in Steals per Poss. (13.4%), which can be attributed toward strong defensive rotation and strength on the defensive interior (C Baye Keita).

History- As great a coach as John Beilein is, he has never successfully figured out Boeheim’s 2-3. As a head coach at the West Virginia from 2002-2007, Beilein went 0-6, and along with 2 losses as a Richmond head coach and 1 at Michigan, Beilein slumps into this game with an 0-9 record vs. Boeheim. Granted, he has never had a team with as much talent and skillful shooters as this Michigan one does, but it is still worth mentioning.

Conclusion: Books obviously had different opinions on this game at the open, but all have seemingly agreed on Michigan-2, 131. I lean Cuse/Under here. Both teams like to play slightly below average pace, and even though Michigan struggles to defend at times, I’m not sure Syracuse is ready to bust for 65+ points. The only way Syracuse wins this is with a defense first mentality, forcing Michigan to take long, contested jumpers. This number has a slight possibility of reaching 3 by game-time, and if this is the case, take the Orange plus the points.

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