Is it better to be the hunter or the hunted? For the two top college basketball programs in Michigan, it’s one or the other as the NCAA College Basketball Tournament is set to begin this coming week. And this year marks the first time Michiganders can legally place bets on the tournament.
The annual tournament of 68 teams vying for the College Basketball Championship will start Thursday, March 18 with the “First Four” games, which for hoops fans in the Great Lakes State, will feature a familiar green-and-white group.
Michigan State Vs UCLA In The First Four
Michigan State will play UCLA on Thursday (late game on TBS) in an unexpected, but interesting matchup of college basketball powerhouse programs. Coach Tom Izzo’s Spartans are the “hunter’s” this March, chasing the prize after a mediocre season, by their standards.
The Spartans were 15-12 this season, but only 9-11 in a tough Big Ten conference schedule. But perhaps “King Slayers” is a better way to describe the Spartans for 2020-21. This past season the Spartans defeated two teams that are #1 seeds in this tournament (Illinois and Michigan), and they won four games against teams ranked in the top 10 nationally during the year.
Michigan A #1 Seed for First Time Since Fab Five Days
Two years ago when he was introduced as head basketball coach of Michigan, Juwan Howard explained that he had “unfinished business.” The former Wolverine was referring to cutting down the nets as national champions. Howard was a prominent member of the famed Fab Five that led the Wolverines to back-to-back championship games in the NCAA tournament in 1992 and 1993, only to come out on the losing end.
The Wolverines went 20-4 and captured the Big Ten regular-season title in Howard’s second season as coach. But Michigan limps into the tournament after losing three of their final five games, following a grueling season that saw their schedule chopped up because of the Covid-19 restrictions. Michigan also learned that they will not have senior forward Isaiah Livers, who suffered a fracture in his right foot. His season is over, other than cheering on his teammates during the tournament. Livers was the Wolverine’s top shooter this season.
Odds For Michigan State In NCAA Tournament
Here are the odds on MSU’s First Four contest:
|Golden Nugget||-1.5 (-115)||-120||136.5|
|William Hill||-1.5 (-110)||-125||136.5|
PointsBet has Michigan State at +12500 to win the NCAA Tournament.
Odds For Michigan Wolverines In NCAA Tournament
The Wolverines will open the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 20 against the winner of the Mount St. Mary’s/Texas Southern game. U of M is a #1 seed in the East region.
Odds for their first-round game will become available after the Thursday games.
|Sportsbook||Michigan Odds To Win March Madness 2021 Tournament|
Check back here for updated odds on the Wolverines and Spartans in the 2021 NCAA Basketball Tournament.