Florida Gators vs Michigan Wolverines: Predictions, Odds and Roster Notes

How to Watch

Where: Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, IA, USA.

When: Saturday, March 23rd at 5:15pm EST.

How (TV/Radio): CBS; March Madness Live Stream on ncaa.com

Florida Gators

Head Coach: Mike White {Overall: 20-15, .571 W-L% | Conference: 9-9, 8th in SEC}

Coming off a win against Nevada in the first round, the Gators are hungry to advance further in the tournament and satisfy fans reminiscing of the mid 2000’s championship years. The Gators have managed to win at least one tournament game for three straight years.

Despite being underdogs against Nevada on Thursday, Florida managed to eliminate the Wolf Pack, winning 70-61. Senior center Kevarrius Hayes was the top scorer with 16 points along with three blocked shots, while fellow senior Jalen Hudson added 15 points. The Gators forced Nevada out of their comfort zone, as the Wolf Pack shot just 34.5% from the field, while the Martin twins, Caleb and Cody, were forced into eight turnovers.

Michigan Wolverines

Head Coach: Jim Beilein {Overall: 29-6, .829 W-L% | Conference: 15-5, 3rd in Big Ten}

Michigan’s quest to return to the national championship game got off to a strong start on Thursday, manhandling 15th-seeded Montana. The Wolverines took down the Big Sky Conference champs 74-55, with senior leader Charles Matthews notching a double-double of 22 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis added 14 points, in a game where Michigan out-rebounded the Grizzlies 38-26.

The Wolverines have only played the Gators three times in school history, with two of those games occurring in the NCAA tournament. The most recent meeting was in the 2013 Elite Eight, when Michigan blew out the Gators 79-59 en route to a national championship appearance against Louisville.

Florida Roster Notes

Junior center Gorjok Gak is out for the season with a knee injury and will take a medical redshirt this year.

Freshman forward Chase Johnson is no longer with the team after opting to transfer to Dayton.

Junior forward Keith Stone is out for the season with a torn ACL suffered on January 19th against Georgia.

Michigan Roster Notes

There are no injuries or roster changes to report for Michigan.

Head-to-Head: Andrew Nembhard vs Zavier Simpson

Andrew Nembhard

Point Guard | 6-5, 191lb (196cm, 86kg) | Montverde Academy | Aurora, Ontario, Canada | Freshman

8.1 PPG | 5.3 APG | 2.9 RPG | 1.2 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 2.0 TOV | .418 FG% | .343 3P%

Zavier Simpson

Point Guard | 6-0 190lb (183cm, 86kg) | Lima Senior HS | Lima, OH | Junior

9.1 PPG | 6.7 APG | 5.0 RPG | 1.4 SPG | 0.1 BPG | 1.9 TOV | .442 FG% | .304 3P%

A deep tournament is unlikely to happen without strong play from your floor general. Each of the point guards in this game have been fully committed to their roles as pass first playmakers, setting up their scoring focused teammates with high percentage looks.

As a prized recruit from Florida’s 2018 class, Andrew Nembhard has not disappointed, starting every game as a freshman. The 6-5 Canadian has already established himself as one of the top passers in the Southeastern Conference, ranking third in assists. He has also managed to take of the ball, especially against top competition, as evidenced by zero turnover performances against Tennessee as well as against LSU in the SEC Tournament.

Zavier Simpson has already proven the importance of having a reliable point guard, as the Ohio native guided Michigan to the national championship game last season. Like Nembhard, Simpson has managed to keep his turnovers down, while increasing his assist numbers from last year, which has led to a solid 3.5-1 assist-to-turnover ratio. In addition to his ball security, Simpson has also excelled at pickpocketing his opponents and generating extra possessions for Michigan, ranking third in the Big Ten in steals.

Florida at Michigan Predictions and Odds

Oddsmakers are favouring the Wolverines by 6.5 points over the Gators in this neutral site game. The majority of sports books have set the over/under for the game at 123.5, anticipating a low scoring battle between two top 25 ranked defenses.