Big Ten Tournament Preview and Predictions

Michigan State walked away with the regular season title after a dominate second half performance against rival Michigan Saturday night.  Sunday the final regular season games took place finalizing the seeds for what could be the funniest tournament of all the power fives.  The ACC is top heavy, the Big12 is a three-team race, anyone can beat anyone in this tournament.  Let’s break it down.

Sleeper- Indiana Hoosiers

Most may not remember that the Hoosiers entered the season with very high expectations.  They have slowly begun to return to form.  With the two man punch of Romeo Langford and Juwan Morgan Indiana has two studs they can lean on during big moments.  The Hoosiers also got a favorable draw against a reeling Ohio State team and potentially matching up with Michigan State whom they defeated twice during the regular season.

What to watch for- Returning Nick Ward

Michigan State showed what they are made of while dealing with multiple injuries during the regular season.  Kenny Goin and Xavier Tillman stepped up in the absence of Nick Ward.  The Spartans will welcome back Ward for this tournament.  If he plays to his ability this team has a shot to steal a #1 seed.

Opening Round

Nebraska over Rutgers– Nebraska was an early season darling in the Big Ten. The injury to Isaac Copeland derailed what could have been a promising season.  Still the Cornhuskers will have the best player on the court in James Palmer Jr. Feeding off the momentum of Sunday’s shocking comeback versus Iowa should propel Nebraska to an opening round victory.

Northwestern over Illinois– Illinois made a nice run mid-season showing the potential of Brad Underwood’s team.  I prefer Northwestern in this matchup mainly because of their ability to handle the ball.  Northwestern is top five in the Big Ten in turnovers per game which is the bread and butter of the Illini.  Northwestern will control the tempo and Vic Law will have a big game.

Second Round

Indiana over Ohio State-

Indiana has to win, and they will versus an Ohio State team that has looked bad without Kyle Wesson.  The Hoosiers will have too much for the Buckeyes.

Maryland over Nebraska-

Maryland has a problem with turnovers.  They will have to take care of the ball to have a chance in the big dance. Locking down Nebraska’s James Palmer will be a problem, but the size of Maryland will be too much for the Cornhuskers.

Penn State over Minnesota-

Penn State has turned their season around after a rough start and will continue it against a Minnesota was barely able to get by a struggling early season Nittany Lions team. Penn State will have to keep Jordan Murphy off the glass, if they contain him they roll.

Iowa over Northwestern-

Iowa needs this win, they will score to much for Northwestern to handle. 

Third Round

Michigan State over Indiana-

Cassius Winston will lead his veteran team to a revenge victory over an Indiana team that surprisingly handled the Spartans twice during the season.  Michigan State will also have a lift from the returning Nick Ward.

Maryland over Wisconsin-

Maryland will have a tall task beating the slow paced Wisconsin Badgers.  The Badgers are to inconsistent on the offensive end, their inability to hit free throws will do them in down the stretch of the game.

Purdue over Penn State-

Carson Edwards versus Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Josh Reaves will be a very fun matchup.  Purdue will have to much ancillary pieces for Penn State to get the win. 

Michigan over Iowa-

I’m not a believer in Michigan but their defense is too good for an Iowa team that that will be forced to take a lot of contested jumpers.

Semi-Final

Michigan State over Maryland

Maryland has the talent to win this game.  Unfortunately, their turnover problems will return in this semi-final matchup with the veteran Michigan State Spartans.  Kenny Goins outside shooting will help pull one of the young bigs from the paint opening up lanes for Cassius Winston.  Michigan State wins big.

Purdue over Michigan

Purdue’s early season defeat against Michigan will be in the minds of the Boilermakers.  Carson Edwards will come up. Big against Michigan early.  The Wolverines are a great defensive team, but they have problems with putting together points when they are down early.  Boilermakers make it to the final.

Finals

Michigan State over Purdue

These two teams split the regular season with both home teams winning. Cassius Winston will solidify himself as the MVP of the tournament while Nick Ward will be handled Matt Haarms.  The Spartans are too deep for the Boilermakers.  Michigan State wins the Big 10 Tournament.

NCAAB Picks ATS 1.19.19

Michigan Wolverines -3 at Wisconsin Badgers

The Michigan Wolverines are rolling right now.  Entering this matchup with a perfect record, most recently pounding the Northwestern Wildcats 80-60 last Sunday. The Wolverines have one of the most punishing defenses in the nation allowing just 56.5 points per game, 3rd fewest in division one basketball. They enter a matchup with the Wisconsin Badgers who’s only win in the last seven days was against Big Ten bottom dweller Penn State.  The Badgers have had some tough luck early in the Big Ten season as their last two losses to Purdue and Maryland were by a combined eight points. 

Wisconsin will need their star senior Ethan Happ to continue to play a vital role, operating as a do-it-all forward for the Badgers, as he’s averaging 19.4 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.6 assists. While he has some help with D’Mtrick Trice and Brad Davison the Wisconsin offense will need multiple players to play above their means on Saturday.  The bright side being that the Badgers are 8-2 straight up against Michigan in their last ten meetings at home.  The counter argument to Wisconsin’s home dominance is Michigan’s 5-1 record ATS over their last six away games.

The Wolverines are on a mission to finish what they started last March.  They continue that mission on Saturday handling the Badgers and covering the -3 spread.

Lousiville Cardinals -3.5 at Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

The Louisville Cardinals were 12 point underdogs last Saturday when they visited Chapel Hill. Not only covering the spread but beating the Tarheels straight up.  Led by leading scorer Jordan Nwora’s 18.1 points and 8.1 rebound per game.  The Cardinals have looked like a different team since their loss to the rebuilding Pittsburgh Panthers.  The loss to the Panthers seemed to put this team back on track under the leadership of new Head Coach Chris Mack.

Georgia Tech currently sits at 10-7, 1-2 in the ACC with losses to Virginia Tech and Clemson.  The Jackets are 5-1 ATS in their last six Saturday games and 7-2 ATS in their last nine versus the ACC. Georgia Tech is a plucky team that can keep this one close but the Cardinals have been playing to well to fall off against a team that is not as talented.  Chris Mack won’t allow them to come out flat.

Virginia Cavaliers at Duke Blue Devils -1.5

The Cameron Crazies will be on edge waiting for this marquee matchup with the unbeaten Virginia Cavaliers.  The uncertainty of Tre Jones would have most people leaning towards Virginia in this matchup.  Without the defense of Tre Jones, Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome should have no problem running what has become and efficient Virginia attack. They have a 56% effective field goal percentage and own a potent 40% clip from behind the arc.

The Blue Devils will have Cam Reddish back on the court Saturday which will give them another shooter to rely on. The struggles of co-captain Jack White from behind the arc put the Blue Devils in a bad position Monday night against the Syracuse zone, the return of Reddish and he likely minutes increase for sharpshooting sophomore Alex O’Connell will open up the middle for RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson to do their work. 

The Virginia defense is the best in the country but they are going up against their stiffest competition to date.  Virginia Tech does not have the athletes that the Blue Devils do.  I love this Virginia team but the worst thing that could of happened leading into this game was a loss to Syracuse.  Barrett, Williamson and company will come out with something to prove and Virginia will not be able to keep up on the offensive end. Duke wins by five.

Other picks for Saturday

Indiana +8

Kansas -5.5

Cincinnati/ Wichita State Under 135.5

Missouri +5

Memphis -3.5

Dayton -3.5

NCAAF Week 11 Pick ATS

Season Record: 25-25

Vanderbilt Commodores at Missouri Tigers -17

The Missouri Tigers are coming off their biggest win of the year dominating the Florida Gators last week.  This week they get the Vanderbilt Commodores whom create rather different matchup.

The Commodores can keep up with the Missouri offense, Kyle Shurmur brings a bigger threat in the passing game then the dismal effort shown by Felipe Franks last week. The Commodores can also run the ball effectively, running  for a season-high – against FBS teams – 250 yards with four touchdowns in the win over Arkansas a few weeks ago, led by a 176-yard day from Ke’Shawn Vaughn.

This is just to many points to for a Missouri team that loves to let down its fans.  I see Mizzou winning this game but 17 points seems like to much.

PicksVanderbilt Commodores +17

Maryland Terrapins at Indiana Hoosiers -1.5

Indiana has lost four straight games including a rather embarrassing effort against Minnesota. The Indiana defense has given up over 150 yards rushing in each of its at four games.  When the Terrapin can run the ball, they can win.

The Terrapins also have the ability to cause turmoil on the defensive end. With a suspect Indiana passing game going against a strong secondary, I see turnovers for the Hoosiers.

PicksMaryland Terrapins +1.5

Ohio State -4 at Michigan State

If you just went off of analyst opinions you would think the Ohio State Buckeyes are at .500 or worse.  The Buckeyes sit at 8-1, still technically in the running for a shot at the College Football Playoff.  A win over a strong conference foe could be just the ticket to get them back on track.

Overshardowed by the negatives has been the terrific season by Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins. He set the OSU single-season record for completions against Nebraska and can break the single-season yardage mark with 278 against MSU. The Spartans, usually known for their stingy defense actuallly rank 98th in the country in pass defense.

Haskins will be to much for Michigan State, the Spartans will not be able to produce enoiugh on the offensive end to compete.  Ohio States defense is bad but they don’t have to be great this weekend to cover.

PicksOhio State -4

UCLA Bruins at Arizona State Sun Devils -13.5

I don’t try to have many trends in my College Football bets.  Mainly I just look at the lines I like and go with it.  But I have seemed to find a nice niche in fading the UCLA Bruins. Last weeks Oregon game was easy money and I look to see the same outcome this week.

Two teams going in two different directions.  It’s been a tale of two diffrerent coaches, while Chip Kelly has disappointed in his first season, Herm Edwards has already exceeded expectations.  Arizona State has more weapons and have been tough at home.  Look for the Sun Devils to roll.

PicksArizona State -13.5

 

Other Picks:

Kentucky -5.5

Purdue -11.5

Ole Miss/ Texas A&M Under 67