Arizona Wildcats vs. Michigan Wolverines Predictions ATS

by | Nov 21, 2021 | cbb

Arizona Wildcats (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. Michigan Wolverines (3-1 SU, 2-2 ATS)
When: Sunday, November 21, 9:30 p.m.
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
TV: ESPN2
Point Spread: ARIZ +4/MICH -4 (MyBookie)
Moneyline: ARIZ +135/MICH -165
Total: 142

Last Time Out:

Arizona beat Wichita State 82-78 in overtime; Michigan handled UNLV 74-61.

About the Matchup:

Welcome to Vegas basketball, where the undercard of the night is actually the main event of this mini-tournament. Because of television and ESPN actually wanting people to be able to watch the game east of Denver, the championship of the Main Event tournament is the first game of the evening, with Arizona and Michigan squaring off after winning their semifinal matchups in differing fashions.

Michigan played its typical grinding style against UNLV and wore down the Rebels, while Arizona turned on the jets and outlasted Wichita State in an overtime thriller. Thanks to the unusual nature of this tournament, the teams had a day in between games to recover, rather than have to go right back at it the next day as they would in a conference tournament setting. That likely works to Arizona’s favor, as the Wildcats’ quick tempo is far more grueling on the body and needs a day to recover from playing before getting back on the floor. Will that be enough for the Wildcats to cover here?

Scouting the Wildcats:

Guess who’s playing the best defense in the country at the moment in terms of opposing field goal percentage? Surprise, it’s Arizona, which has held its opponents to a combined 29.4 percent from the floor, yet has still hit the over in three of its four games. That’s the dichotomy of the Wildcats, who love to push the tempo and get a lot of shots up, but can grind out games on defense as well as anyone.

What makes Arizona difficult to deal with is that the Wildcats don’t really have to depend on one part of the game to get results. Azuolas Tubelis has done a fine job inside with 16 points and 6.3 rebounds, but he’s far from the only one contributing in both departments. Plus, the Wildcats really aren’t dependent on the 3-point shot the way most high-scoring teams are. Arizona is only middling in its deep shooting, but the Wildcats are winning because they rebound the heck out of the ball, don’t give up easy baskets and make sure that their shots count.

Scouting the Wolverines:

The game with UNLV wasn’t as much of a blowout as was expected, but it still ended up being a comfortable win for a Michigan squad that remains a defense-heavy team. On the offensive side of the ball, Hunter Dickinson has really come into his own as a center, scoring 17.3 points and grabbing eight rebounds to lead the Wolverines in both categories.

But Michigan has really got to improve at the foul line, or it could really cost the Wolverines moving forward. For the year, Michigan is only hitting 64 percent from the stripe, and if the Wolverines play a tight one down the stretch, they’re as liable to throw the game away at the line as they are to close it out. The Wolverines don’t shoot it well enough from deep to make up for that; they’ve got to win games by scoring inside and taking free points when they come.

Arizona will Cover If:

The Wildcats can keep Dickinson from taking over. Michigan doesn’t have a lot of depth, nor does it have the outside shooting needed to overcome a bad night from their big man. If the Wildcats can win the battle in the paint, the game is theirs.

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Michigan will Cover If:

The Wolverines can win the battle on second-chance points. Arizona hasn’t gone up against a good rebounding team to this point, and the Wildcats looked rattled by Wichita State’s willingness to challenge them on the glass and keep the attack coming in the second half. If Michigan can bang around inside and get Arizona off-balance, the Wolverines will be in good shape.

Dan’s Best Prop Bets

Look for Michigan to exert its will in terms of tempo and push this game under. The number is reacting to Arizona’s speed, but the Wildcats are likely to play Michigan’s defensive game and try to deny shots when the Wolverines have the ball. That means there’s a good chance this stays in the 60s.

Dan’s Pick to Cover the Spread

Arizona is off to a fine start this season, but the Wildcats haven’t seen anyone quite like what Michigan brings to the table. The Wolverines have the strong inside play and defense-first mentality needed to win these kinds of games, and this looks like it’s going to be a tight battle all night long.

That lends itself to Michigan’s style and for the Wolverines to cover at the end. Give me Michigan.