Previewing the B1G and AAC Title Games Today
The last two games before the brackets get revealed and I always get curious with these two games, especially in a year like this. I would think seeding is still up in the air for Michigan and Wisconsin while I think SMU and Cincinnati may be locked in to their seeds regardless of what happens today.
B1G Tournament Championship – Washington D.C.
No. 8 Michigan vs No. 2 Wisconsin – 3:00 pm
Line: Wisconsin -2.5
It’s almost perfect that these two teams are playing in the B1G title game. To me they are two of most disappointing teams this season, but that mindset can change after today. Hell, if you’re a Michigan fan that mindset changed with them just being here. That said, these teams, especially Wisconsin were supposed to be a top-10 team this year while Michigan should have been a consistent top-25 team.
Michigan started to find its groove the last couple weeks of the season and that’s due almost directly to the play of Derrick Walton. The senior point guard started taking over games and stopped forcing a bunch of bad shots. He’s shooting in rhythm and not settling, which was one of my biggest knocks on him during the first three years. On top of that DJ Wilson is looking like the pro prospect many think he is. He was the best player on the floor against Purdue in the quarterfinals.
Wisconsin on the other hand stumbled ass-backwards into the B1G Tournament winning just two of its last seven regular season games. They’ve won both games fairly easily in Washington D.C., but yesterday’s performance against Northwestern was the impressive one. They controlled the game, Happ didn’t panic against a double and guys hit shots.
Pick: I’m taking Michigan with the points and ML here. I said from the get go this has the feel of Georgia winning the SEC Tournament after the tornado hit the Georgia Dome. From a specific game standpoint, Wisconsin struggles to guard the 3-point line. Teams shoot 37.5% against them, which is 308th in the country. Wisconsin does a decent job of forcing teams off the 3-point line, but Michigan lives and dies by that line.
AAC Championship Game – Hartford
No. 2 Cincinnati vs No. 1 SMU – 3:15 pm
Line: SMU -2
To me, SMU needs this game a little more than Cincinnati. The Mustangs have just one win over a NCAA Tournament team this year and that was Cincinnati in Dallas. The Bearcats at least have a win at Iowa State in their back pocket. I do think you’ll see both these teams on either the 5 or 6 line, but don’t think either will jump to a top-4 line regardless of what happens today.
SMU has to defend Kyle Washington and Gary Clark today. That’s where the game will be won or lost, depending who you’re cheering for. Yes, Cincinnati has decent guards, but Caupain has been a little inconsistent this season while Washington has been the best player for the Bearcats. You want to try and attack the paint and see if you can get Ben Moore in foul trouble. The Mustangs aren’t deep and don’t have a ton of size, Cincinnati needs to capitalize on that.
What I do like about SMU on the offensive side of the ball is the fact they share the ball. They rank 10th in the country in assists per field goals made. That’s because they’ll drive into the lane and either kick to an open shooter or find a guy cutting. They can run a five-out or four-out 1-high offense that just leaves the lane open. They are unique in the sense of the lineup they have, with everyone being 6”6″-6’8″ and great athletes.
Pick: I’m taking Cincinnati +2 here. SMU has struggled a little bit in Hartford, especially letting East Carolina come back against them. They seemed to panic in that game, which was shocking to see. Cincinnati on the other hand has the depth and ability to play a couple of different games. They still want to junk it up and slow it down, but if this becomes a running game, Cincinnati is well-equipped for that with guys like Evans and Cumberland.
Sun Belt Conference Championship – New Orleans
Take Troy -1.5 in this one.