First off I want to say I’m outraged with myself that I’m posting this on “PHL Sports Nation”, I think this bet is more suited for Radnor Sports Nation…  That being said, money IS money, and I can’t turn that down.  Without further ado, the Philly bet for Sweet 16:


Thursday 7:29 – #11 Michigan vs #2 Villanova: Villanova -5

Alright Michigan, can you knock it off?  I know myself and several others said the Wolverines didn’t even belong in the tourney, now they’re making it hurt.  Now that Michigan has won their two games and proven to everyone they belonged, it’s time for them to come back down to earth now that they’re playing Jay Wright’s Wildcats.  This tournament has shown us the Mountain West isn’t all that, then Michigan was able to take advantage of a Tennessee team that greatly lacks experience.  For those who pay attention to college basketball and more specifically the local scene, we know that’s not the case…  Villanova was a DANGEROUS team going into March last year, that is until Colin Gillespie tore his ACL.  Gillespie came back fully healthy and won Big East player of the year for the second year in a row.  The revenge narrative is in full effect, and while it didn’t always look sexy, Gillespie notched 20 points, mostly in key situations, to edge out Ohio State in Villanova’s most recent tournament game.  A large part of Michigan’s defense is reliant on Hunter Dickinson dominance in the low block (averaging 24 points in two tourney games), but that should be music to Villanova fans’ ears.  The Wildcats play such fundamentally team defense and can rotate better than any team in the NCAA.  Look for suffocating double teams on Dickinson and bricked three point jumpers once he passes out.  Michigan sits at 166th in the country shooting 33.9% from behind the arc.  I am extremely confident in Nova to win outright, but -5 becomes extremely juicy based on one stat.  Villanova is #1 in the entire country in free throw shooting at 82.6%.  The Wildcats were able to cover against Ohio State by nailing all their free throws down the stretch and I expect a repeat of that against Juwan Howard’s crew.


Photo: Brian Fluharty

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