2013 NCAA Picks - South: Florida vs. Michigan

Posted Mar 31, 2013

Predicting and projecting every NCAA Tournament game - South Region

2013 NCAA Basketball Tourney

South - Regional Final

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How are our picks so far? Straight Up: 12-2  ATS: 6-8

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Yeah, yeah, yeah, we know, we're CollegeFOOTBALLNews.com, but like the rest of the world, we take a wee bit of a break for NCAA college basketball tournament.  SCROLL DOWN for the earlier round picks and quick looks.

No. 3 Florida (29-7) vs. No. 4 Michigan (29-7)
Line: Florida -2.5
Why To Pick Florida: The Gators have been ruthlessly efficient and effective, blowing off an early big start by Florida Gulf Coast by turning up the heat and the defensive pressure and shutting the game down cold. Michigan isn't Florida Gulf Coast, but Florida has the aggressiveness on D, especially on the perimeter, to force lots and lots of turnovers. FGSU kicked it over 20 times, and while Kansas wasn't able to take the ball away from the Wolverines, Florida should apply far more pressure.
Why To Pick Michigan: The Wolverines have the athleticism needed to get by Florida. Florida Gulf Coast was able to jump out to a big lead by being able to run and gun, but it didn't have the talent to keep it up once the Gators played D. Michigan has that talent, and it should be able to win the battle on the boards while scoring from all angles. Mitch McGary held his own on the interior, and if he can do that again, the outside shooting should work - Florida doesn't have a Jeff Withey on the interior.
The Pick: Michigan 68-64. Florida might be playing at a high level, but Michigan got its game going in overtime against Kansas and the momentum should carry over. 


No. 1 Kansas (31-5) vs. No. 4 Michigan (28-7)
Line: Kansas -2
Why To Pick Kansas: Can KU rebound like it did against North Carolina? Jeff Withey cleaned up everything and was a force inside against the Tar Heels with five blocked shots. Michigan has been flying to the rim without a problem, but now it has to deal with a big tree in the middle that can grab everything, helping the Jayhawks to beat UNC on the glass 47-30. If Michigan has to turn into a perimeter shooting team, it could start to struggle and go into a funk - the team is feeding off the big play.
Why To Pick Michigan: Everything is clicking at just the right time. Kansas was able to whack an inconsistent North Carolina team that couldn't shoot, but it's going to have a nightmare of a time against a Wolverine offense that's flying around and doing a phenomenal job of making the extra passes to get the open shots. The threes might not be falling, but everything else is with Tim Hardaway Jr. Trey Burke, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III all taking their game up a notch. The offense should stay hot. 
The Pick: Michigan 74-65. Kansas is well past its midseason doldrums and has the combination of inside presence and good guard play to give Michigan fits, but the Wolverine guards will be better than the KU guards and Withey will be neutralized at times by quick strikes to get easy points before he can get to the play.
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 87-85 OT

No. 3 Florida (28-7) vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (26-10)
Line: Florida -12.5
Why To Pick Florida: The Gators have had almost a week to prepare while also having to hear about Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Gulf Coast, Florida Gulf Coast. There's a wee bit more motivation than just a trip to the Elite Eight considering the geography, but it's going to come down to the ability to get hot from the floor. The Eagles are active, but as long as the ball is moving around and the tempo kept under wraps, there won't be a problem. Florida can shoot its way out of jams, and it if's hot early, get ready for a grind.
Why To Pick Florida Gulf Coast: Is any team playing with more confidence and playing looser? The ultra-athletic Eagles don't have a problem running with layup and dunk after layup and dunk, hitting 56% of their shots against a San Diego State team that's eerily similar in a lot of ways to the Gators. The scoring is coming from all sides - it's not just Sherwood Brown and his dry, dullish speeches. The offense is moving the ball extremely well doing a great job of coming up with the extra pass.
The Pick: Florida 81-67. Florida Gulf Coast has been a fun story, but the aggressive Gator defense will come out jacked up and looking to end this early. After a big early run by Florida to get up big, FGCU will start to bomb, won't have any luck and will fall right into Billy Donovan's plan.
FINAL SCORE: Florida 62-50


No. 1 Kansas (30-5) vs. No. 8 North Carolina (25-10)
Line: Kansas -6
Why To Pick Kansas: When the Jayhawks finally decided to start playing, they were able to clamp down on a WKU team that finished hitting 3-of-20 three-point chances. Rebounding was a problem against the Hilltoppers, but UNC is coming off an awful day on the boards. That was about as bad as KU could play offensively - going 0-from-6 from three and turning it over 17 times - and it still managed to come away with the win.
Why To Pick North Carolina: Will Kansas stay in its funk? If WKU had any semblance of talent, or timely three point shooting ability, it would've come out with a win. North Carolina got balanced scoring in the opener against Villanova with four players in double figures, and it should be able to keep the pressure on offensively. The Tar Heels can play KU's style and should be able to run when needed.
The Pick: North Carolina 75-72. Even if Kansas didn't play a total dud of a second rounder, North Carolina might be the pick. When everything is working, this is a dangerous Tar Heel team with the talent to hang around with anyone. If KU is in any sort of lull, it'll be hammered on fast breaks.
FINAL SCORE: Kansas 70-58

No. 4 Michigan (27-7) vs. No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth (27-8)
Line: Michigan -3
Why To Pick Michigan: The Wolverines are going to be a wee bit stronger defensively than Akron was. VCU overwhelmed the Zips from the start and took them completely out of their game. Akron connected on 1-of-13 from three and his just 35% from the field, but Michigan will do a far better job of getting to the basket and should be able to match the guards shot for shot. The scary part about Michigan's win over SDSU? Trey Burke didn't get going. He won't do 2-of-12 again.
Why To Pick VCU: The Rams appear to be playing with extreme confidence.  They have the guards and the smarts in the backcourt to matchup extremely well with the Wolverines, and they'll have no problems running and gunning and making this a bit of an up-and-down fight. Michigan isn't too sloppy with the ball, but it'll make its share of mistakes and it'll get cold for a few stretches.
The Pick: Michigan 84-80. For everyone waiting for a really, really good game this tournament, this will be it.
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 78-53

No. 3 Florida (27-7) vs. No. 11 Minnesota (21-12)
Line: Florida -8.5
Why To Pick Florida: The Gators handled the shift changes and depth of Northwestern State without a problem; they can deal with the Minnesota bench and athleticism. Great on the boards from all areas, Florida has the ability to hold up against the Minnesota length and interior toughness. Minnesota won't get the easy second chance points they enjoyed against a squishy-soft UCLA.
Why To Pick Minnesota: This is a flaky team, and against UCLA it was flaky-good. The energy was there and the aggressiveness led to rebound after rebound, even though the Bruins were also tough on the glass. The defense forced several big mistakes and didn't allow much from the outside - UCLA hit just 4-of-22 three pointers. Overall, the athleticism is there to keep up.
The Pick: Florida 75-68. The Gators will be too active defensively and too sound for a Minnesota team that makes way too many mistakes and goes into funks way too often.
FINAL SCORE: Florida 78-64

No. 7 San Diego State (23-10) vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (25-10)
Line: San Diego State -7.5
Why To Pick San Diego State: Georgetown was an awful matchup against Florida Gulf Coast - San Diego State has the right mix. The Aztecs can move, can get balanced scoring when needed, and can attack the boards from all five spots. They're athletic enough to hold up if the Eagles go on a run and get the emotional side of things out of the way. FCGC will have the world on its side, but the Aztecs aren't going to have a problem with it.
Why To Pick Florida Gulf Coast: Run, run, run. This is a high-flying team that likes to get up and down the court in a hurry and can attack and fast break as well as any team left in the tournament. San Diego State will want to run, but the Eagles can do it better.
The Pick: San Diego State 78-68. The Aztecs won't take this game lightly. With the guards to match up well and the ability to get on the boards better, this is a good fit for a San Diego State team built to make a good run.
FINAL SCORE: Florida Gulf Coast 81-71

No. 1 Kansas (29-5) vs. No. 16 Western Kentucky (20-15)
Line: Kansas -20
Why To Pick Kansas: WKU is way too careless with the ball. For a minor team to beat KU, it has to be red hot from three and has to be flawless when it comes to turnovers – that's not WKU. The half-court defense should shut down the Sun Belt champs cold.
Why To Pick Western Kentucky: Bad things tend to happen when Kansas plays a mid-major it's supposed to beat. The Hilltoppers are red hot coming into the tournament with the ability to bang on the boards and fight and claw their way to make this interesting. This is a fearless squad.
The Pick: Kansas 75-50. Western Kentucky is going to have a really, really hard time scoring.
FINAL SCORE: Kansas 64-57

No. 8 North Carolina (24-10) vs. No. 9 Villanova (20-13)
Line: North Carolina -4
Why To Pick North Carolina: Villanova is very, very flaky. When things aren't working, it gets ugly with no consistent scoring punch and a mediocre defense that can't handle teams that can hit from the outside. The Tar Heel guards should own the tempo.
Why To Pick Villanova: It's not like North Carolina has been a model of consistency, either. The Tar Heel guards might be talented, and they might be starting to come into their own, but they also make too many mistakes. When Villanova is on, it can beat any team in the tournament.
The Pick: North Carolina 75-69. Villanova will struggle way too much defensively and won't be consistent enough on offense – the three point shooting will be painful – to make a run needed to take control.
FINAL SCORE: North Carolina 78-71

No. 5 Virginia Commonwealth (26-8) vs. No. 12 Akron (26-6)
Line: VCU -8
Why To Pick Virginia Commonwealth: The Rams know what they're doing. Actually, the coaching staff knows what it's doing in the tournament, helped by having a team stronger than the one that got to the Final Four. The team can flat out score with points coming with ease on the defensive game that pressures the ball well leading to easy transition points.
Why To Pick Akron: The Zips do a little of everything well, and if they can turn this into a half-court game, they could have a shot. VCU is aggressive on defense, but they can have problems on the boards. As long as this doesn't get into a track meet and Akron can use its size, it has a shot.
The Pick: VCU 74-64. The Ram guards are way too good and way too aggressive for the Akron backcourt. The turnover margin will be massive.

No. 4 Michigan (26-7) vs. No. 13 South Dakota State (25-9)
Line: Michigan -11
Why To Pick Michigan: The Wolverines have way too much firepower and way too much overall talent for the Jackrabbits, especially in the backcourt. If Michigan's head is in the right spot defensively and the guards are aggressive against the three, this could get really ugly really fast.
Why To Pick South Dakota State: Can the Jackrabbits use their defense to screw up the young Michigan guards? The Wolverines haven't exactly been at their best late in the season, especially in tight situations. If the game can be drawn out a bit and occasionally slowed to a crawl, Michigan should make more mistakes.
The Pick: Michigan 72-62. The South Dakota State threes will keep this much, much closer than the Wolverines might like.
FINAL SCORE: Michigan 71-56

No. 6 UCLA (25-9) vs. No. 11 Minnesota (20-12)
Line: Minnesota -3
Why To Pick UCLA: Sometimes, teams get bashed so much and are so maligned that they rise up and prove everyone wrong. Minnesota is the hot 6-11 upset pick with most of the big analysts assuming a Gopher win, but UCLA has the talent and athleticism to make the plays needed to swing the ball around to avoid the Gopher shot blockers.
Why To Pick Minnesota: This isn't a great-shooting UCLA team and it could have a really, really hard time on the interior if the passing game isn't clicking. This isn't a physical Bruin team and it could get shoved around for too many second chance points.
The Pick: Minnesota 70-65. The Gophers will show up on the boards and get chance after chance. UCLA will go on a few big runs, but it won't be enough once things grind down.
FINAL SCORE: Minnesota 83-63

No. 3 Florida (26-7) vs. No. 14 Northwestern State (23-8)
Line: Florida -20
Why To Pick Florida: Northwestern State plays the exact type of style that should fit Florida to a T. Able to score inside and out and great at pushing the tempo, the Gators will have no problem whatsoever if the Demons want to start running. If there's a little bit of early momentum, everything will quickly fall into place.
Why To Pick Northwestern State: Watch out for the bombs. The Demons have one of the most lethal attacks in the country with a deep group that can run and run and run some more. They can keep the pressure on all game long with the ability to go on a few big runs if the Gator D starts to let down.
The Pick: Florida 85-73. The Gators will be in control throughout, but a late Demon run will keep it from being a blowout.
FINAL SCORE: Florida 79-47

No. 7 San Diego State (22-10) vs. No. 10 Oklahoma (20-11)
Line: San Diego State -2.5
Why To Pick San Diego State: The athleticism might be too much for OU to deal with. The Sooners aren't exactly a thrill ride, pounding out games and relying on doing the little things right, but San Diego State has the ability to get on the run and rip off scoring runs without a problem. A spurt could change the game around fast.
Why To Pick Oklahoma: The Aztecs are aggressive on the boards, but do they have the muscle? Romero Osby and the Oklahoma front court should be able to slow things down just enough to keep this close. San Diego State does a great job of forcing mistakes and keeping the pressure on, but OU doesn't screw up.
The Pick: San Diego State 72-64. The guards of the Aztecs will be the difference. San Diego State will be the aggressor, and it'll show by controlling the game throughout.
FINAL SCORE: San Diego State 70-55

No. 2 Georgetown (25-6) vs. No. 15 Florida Gulf Coast (24-10)
Line: Georgetown -13
Why To Pick Georgetown: It's not a fancy team, but it's a maddening one that runs its cutting offense almost perfectly. It takes an extremely disciplined team to hang around with the Hoyas, and that's not really Florida Gulf Coast's style. There's almost no interior presence to keep Georgetown from scoring at will.
Why To Pick Florida Gulf Coast: The Eagles manage to get by with their smallish lineup by always attacking the boards from all positions. They might get bullied on second chance points, but they'll attack and should be able to outhustle the Hoyas. The athleticism is there to pull off the upset.
The Pick: Georgetown 57-45. The game won't get out of hand because the temp will be so slow, but Georgetown will always be in control.
FINAL SCORE: Florida Gulf Coast 78-68

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