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NCAA Tournament Predictions: 4. Michigan vs. 13. South Dakota State

Trey Burke (AP)

Trey Burke (AP)

 4 Michigan (27-6, 12-6 Big Ten)- The Wolverines stumbled down the stretch, losing three of six including an embarrassing loss at Big Ten cellar dweller Penn State. They were outclassed by Wisconsin in the Big Ten quarterfinals, and coughed up a game they should have won against Indiana at home. Still, they have as much talent as any team in the nation and could turn it on in time to make a run to the Final Four.

Michigan has possibly the best point guard in the nation in sophomore Trey Burke (19.7 ppg, 6.7 apg), and two other big-time players in Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Glenn Robinson III (10.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg). Nik Stauskas is also one of the best shooter in the country. Despite their talent, Michigan’s best win on the season is probably a one-point edging of Michigan State at home. Beyond that, there’s not a ton of eye-popping wins. Michigan could be ripe for an early-round upset.

KEY STATS: 

27th Points Per Game (75.2)

9th Field Goal Percentage (.484)

77th Assists Per Game (14.3)

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nate-wolters

Guard Nate Wolters (SDSU)

 13 South Dakota State (25-9, 13-3 Summit)-The Jackrabbits have major upset potential in the first round thanks to prodigious scorer and do-everything guard Nate Wolters. The 6-4 senior ranks fourth in the nation in scoring at 22.7 points per game. He also puts up 5.6 boards and dishes out 5.8 assists per game. Wolters went for 53 in a February win over IPFW, the highest individual scoring output of the season. He just may be the best player you’ve never heard of, and he’s certainly capable of winning a game in the NCAAs by himself.

If Wolters gets hot, SDSU has what it takes to advance out of the Round of 64. It’s not all about Wolters, as big man Jordan Dykstra averages 12.5 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. South Dakota State owns an impressive win on the road at New Mexico this season, and nearly knocked out Baylor in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year before bowing out, 68-60.

KEY STATS:

G Nate Wolters: 22.7 ppg, 5.8 apg, 5.6 rpg

 36th Points Per Game (73.9)

 26th Field Goal Percentage (.470)

 

PREDICTION:  South Dakota State

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