March Madness 2018: Texas A&M vs. Michigan matchup, pick, predictions

No. 3 Michigan takes on No. 7 Texas A&M in the Sweet 16. Here is everything you need to know for their matchup in L.A. on Thursday.

The path to the Final Four opened up in the West Region when top-seeded Xavier was upended by a massive comeback effort from Florida State in the second round and 2-seed North Carolina was made to feel small by Texas A&M big men Tyler Davis and Robert Williams.

Michigan, which has won 11 in a row, is the highest remaining seed in the region, but the 3-seed Wolverines will have their hands full with the 7-seed Aggies, who have gone through and up-and-down year but are playing their best basketball of the season (as Tar Heels fans will tell you).

MORE SWEET 16 GAME PREVIEWS:
Loyola (Ill.)-Nevada | Kansas St-Kentucky | FSU-Gonzaga

Let's take a closer look at this Sweet 16 matchup.

March Madness matchup:
Texas A&M vs. Michigan

How to watch

The Texas A&M vs. Michigan game starts at 7:37 p.m. ET and will air on TBS. You can also live-stream via the March Madness Live app.

No. 3 Michigan

Coach: John Beilein (11th year)
Overall record: 30-7
Scoring leader: Mo Wagner (14.2 ppg)
Rebounding leader: Mo Wagner (7.1 rpg)
Assists leader: Zavier Simpson (3.6 apg)
Famous non-athlete alum: James Earl Jones

NCAA TOURNAMENT: Re-ranking the Sweet 16

No. 7 Texas A&M

Coach: Billy Kennedy (7th year)
Overall record: 22-12
Scoring leader: Tyler Davis (14.6 ppg)
Rebounding leader: Robert Williams III (9.3 rpg)
Assists leader: Admon Gilder (2.6 apg)
Famous non-athlete alum: Lyle Lovett

Best individual matchup: Mo Wagner vs. Robert Williams III

One of these two big men will be playing their final college game; both are projected as first-round NBA Draft picks this spring. Williams is strictly an in-the-paint guy in a half-court offensive setting, though he clearly has the athleticism to be effective on the break (or when throwing down massive dunks). He has a knack for big rebounds and highlight-reel blocked shots. Wagner extends opposing defenses; he's shooting 40.1 percent from 3-point range this year, but also has an array of effective post moves, too. He wasn't an offensive force during the opening weekend, though, scoring a total of 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting.

MORE SWEET 16 GAME PREVIEWS:
Clemson-Kansas | W. Virginia-Villanova
Syracuse-Duke | Texas Tech-Purdue

Most eye-popping stat

Want to see the effect of Texas A&M's dominance in the paint on the opening weekend? In their first two games, the Aggies allowed their opponents a total of eight second-chance points. Eight. Providence rebounded just five of its 35 missed shots and North Carolina rebounded only nine of its 52 missed shots. Michigan is going to have to do a better job than that if the Wolverines want to advance.

Get to know …

Jordan Poole, Michigan. Yep, the guy who hit the buzzer-beater against Houston. Did you know Poole made only two other shots all game and had just three points in the opener against Montana? Still, he's a solid free-throw shooter (81.4 percent) and good from 3 (37.4 percent). He's had an up-and-down freshman season, though he's gotten better as the season has progressed. His best three scoring games came at the end of February, when he put in 15 vs. Ohio State, 13 at Penn State and 12 at Maryland — all wins for Michigan.

MORE: Best images from Week 1 of the NCAA Tournament | Ranking Sweet 16 players by their performances thus far

Sweet 16 pick: Texas A&M

Maybe it's recency bias, but I was in Charlotte for the opening weekend, and I saw how bigs Tyler Davis and Robert Williams dominated the paint for the Aggies against both Providence — those two out-rebounded the Friars by themselves — and UNC. The Aggies made the Tar Heels look like a scrappy auto-bid champion struggling to handle a Power-5 school. If Billy Kennedy's team sticks to its strengths — pound the basketball inside, only take smart shots from the perimeter — A&M will advance.