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No. 8 LSU vs. No. 1 Michigan preview, picks for second round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The LSU Tigers and Michigan Wolverines meet at Lucas Oil Stadium in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Michigan Wolverines guard Mike Smith (12) brings the ball upcourt against the Texas Southern Tigers during the first half in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Mackey Arena. Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports

In an East region matchup, the No. 8 seed LSU Tigers will attempt to knock off the favorites in the quadrant as they face the No. 1 seed Michigan Wolverines in the second round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament Monday. The game will tip-off at 7:10 p.m. from Lucas Oil Stadium, and will be broadcast live on CBS.

We dig a little deeper on the matchup below.

No. 8 LSU: 19-9 (11-6 SEC)

First round result: 76-61 win over No. 9 St. Bonaventure
KenPom rating: 24 Overall, 5 Offense, 122 Defense
NET ranking: 28 (6-8 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Cameron Thomas 22.6 ppg
Key stat: 82.1 points per game (13th in the nation)

The LSU Tigers started out slow against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies on Saturday, but came away with a comfortable 76-61 win in the first round. The Tigers leaned on dynamic frosh Cameron Thomas, who scored 27 points on 7-of-18 shooting from the field and 11-of-13 from the free-throw line.

Thomas has now scored at least 25 points or more in 15 games this season, which is an SEC record for a freshman in the new one-and-done era. LSU also crushed St. Bonaventure on the glass, winning the rebound battle 49-30. Trendon Watford had 11 points and 11 boards, while Darius Days recorded 13 points and 11 rebounds. LSU has now won five out of their last six contests.

No. 1 Michigan: 21-4 (14-3 Big Ten)

First round result: 82-66 win over No. 16 Texas Southern
KenPom rating: 4 Overall, 7 Offense, 6 Defense
NET ranking: 4 (8-3 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Hunter Dickinson 14.2 ppg
Key stat: 38.7% from three-point range (13th in the nation)

The No. 1 seed Wolverines didn’t come away with a 20-plus point blowout on Saturday, but they did beat the No. 16 seed Texas Southern Tigers 82-66 in the first round.

The Wolverines are without Isaiah Livers, who is dealing with stress fracture that he suffered in the Big Ten Tournament. Without Livers, Michigan turned to Mike Smith, who scored 18 points (6-12 FG, 2-6 3pt), while collecting five rebounds and four assists. Hunter Dickinson also scored in double-figures for the maize and blue with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field.

Overall, Michigan had four players reached double-figures and shot 48.1% from the field. On defense, they held the Tigers to only 35.9% shooting from the field and 8.3% from behind the arc.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point spread: Michigan -5
Point total: 148
Moneyline: LSU +180, Michigan -220

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: LSU +5
Point total pick: Over 148
Pick to Win: Michigan

Even though we are picking the Wolverines to win this game, do not be surprised to see the Tigers to keep it close. Will Wade’s crew made it a conscious effort to rebound the ball and play defense, which helped them win easily. We know that they will get tested in the front court by Dickinson.

However, LSU still has one of the best scorers in Thomas and x-factors in Trendon Watford and Darius Days. The better team aka Michigan will prevail, but this game will likely come down to the wire.

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