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No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Texas Southern preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Michigan Wolverines and Texas Southern Tigers meet at Mackey Arena in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Rico Ozuna-Harrison #14 of the Michigan Wolverines plays against the Michigan State Spartans at Crisler Arena on March 04, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

March 19 update: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 16 Texas Southern as of March 19th at 11 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Michigan: -25.5: 21% of action, 27% of bets
Texas Southern: +25.5: 79% of action, 73% of bets

Over 142: 72% of action, 50% of bets
Under 142: 28% of action, 50% of bets

The top-seeded Michigan Wolverines have their opponent set as the No. 16 seed Texas Southern Tigers earned a win over the Mount St. Mary’s Mountaineers 60-52 in the first game of the First Four on Thursday, March 18th. Michigan and Texas Southern are set to meet up on Saturday, March 20th in the first round of the NCAA Tournament with a 3 p.m. ET start from West Lafayette’s Mackey Arena. As the top seed in the region, the Wolverines are heavily favored in this game, which can be seen on CBS.

No. 1 Michigan: 20-4 (14-3 Big Ten): At-large

KenPom rating: 2 Defense, 6 Defense, 7 Defense
NET ranking: 4, (8-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Hunter Dickinson
Key stat: Michigan allows 39.4% shooting from the floor, which is the best in the Big Ten.

The Michigan Wolverines rank among the best teams in college basketball whether it’s by seeding or some of the advanced metrics. Michigan will continue life without Isaiah Livers, who is out indefinitely with a foot injury. The Wolverines shouldn’t have too much trouble with a No. 16 seed, but it a storyline to watch with this team throughout the tournament.

Watch for Mike Smith to try and find his shot. He shoots 44.4% from the three-point line this season. He has really struggled from deep recently, making just 5 of his last 16 threes in the last four games. His shooting will be needed more and more throughout the tournament without Livers.

No. 16 Texas Southern: 17-8 (10-3 SWAC): Defeated Mount St. Mary’s 60-52 in First Four

KenPom rating: 229 Overall, 236 Offense, 235 Defense
NET ranking: 208 (0-4 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Michael Weathers
Key stat: Texas Southern shoots 45.1% from the floor, which is the best mark in the SWAC.

The Tigers scored 74.8 points per game this season to lead the SWAC, but they were held to just 60 in the win over Mount St. Mary’s. Texas Southern made just 10 of 19 free throws, and they will need as many points as they can get against a team with a massive talent advantage like Michigan.

Watch for Michael Weathers to play much better than he did Thursday night. He averages 16.7 points to lead the team, but he scored just eight points on 3 of 11 shooting with four fouls.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Michigan -26
Point total: 141.5
Moneyline: N/A

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Michigan -26
Point total pick: Over 141.5
Pick to Win: Michigan

The Wolverines are going to come out hot and make a statement in Juwan Howard’s first NCAA Tournament game as the head coach. Michigan does not need to play all that close to their highest level of play to come out with a win in the first round, but they could be looking to prove to themselves and the rest of the country how good they can be without Livers on the floor. The Wolverines will cover this high number, and the total will go over as Texas Southern plays the 25th fastest style of basketball in the country.

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