Published on Jan. 16 at 11:05 p.m. Eastern.
By Brian Edwards
With both teams in bounce-back mode following poor performances on Saturday, Michigan and Michigan St. will square off tonight in Ann Arbor.
Most betting shops are listing the Spartans as two-point favorites.
Michigan (14-4 straight up, 8-7 against the spread) dropped to 4-2 in Big Ten play when it fell victim to a look-ahead situation in Saturday’s embarrassing 75-59 loss at Iowa as a 2 ½-point road ‘chalk.’ Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.7 points per game) couldn’t buy a bucket in Iowa City, missing 11 of his 13 shots from the floor including all eight attempts from 3-point range.
Freshman point guard Trey Burke scored a team-high 19 points in the losing effort, while Zack Novak finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Michigan St. (15-3 SU, 10-5 ATS) saw its 15-game winning streak snapped in an 81-74 loss at Northwestern as a five-point road favorite. The Spartans had no answers for the Wildcats’ terrific combination of John Shurna and Drew Crawford, who combined for 42 points.
Keith Appling scored a team-high 17 points, while Draymond Green contributed 14 points, 14 boards and four assists. Green is averaging team-bests in points (15.8 PPG), rebounds (9.9 RPG), steals (1.5 per game) and blocked shots (1.2 per).
John Beilein’s squad has won all 11 of its home games while compiling a 4-4 spread record. This will be the Wolverines’ first home underdog situation.
Michigan swept a pair of regular-season meetings against its in-state rivals last year, winning 70-63 as a one-point home favorite at Crisler Arena on March 5. Hardaway dropped 20 points on the Spartans, while Jordan Morgan scored 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and held Green to seven points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field.
When they collided at Breslin Center in East Lansing on Jan. 27, the Wolverines snapped a six-game losing streak and began their march from mediocrity to the second round of the NCAA Tournament with a 61-57 triumph as 11-point underdogs.
The ‘over’ is 9-5-1 overall for Michigan, 4-4 in its home games. However, the ‘under’ has cashed in three straight for the Wolverines. Meanwhile, the Spartans have watched the ‘over’ go 8-6-1 overall, 7-1 in their last eight outings.
This game will come off the board at 7:00 p.m. Eastern and be televised on ESPN.
In the second game of the ESPN doubleheader, Kentucky (17-1 SU, 3-13-1 ATS) will take on Arkansas as a 17 ½-point home ‘chalk.’ As of early this morning, most spots had the total at 147.
After covering in its first three games, John Calipari’s squad has been absolutely atrocious for our purposes. To be exact, the Wildcats are 0-13-1 ATS since they took the cash in a Nov. 19 win over Penn St. They are 2-10-1 ATS as double-digit favorites.
UK played from behind for most of the day before capturing a 65-62 win Saturday at Tennessee. The ‘Cats never really threatened to cover the number as 9 ½-point road ‘chalk.’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist came up big at crunch time, finishing with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Davis added 18 points, eight boards, four blocked shots, two assists and a pair of steals.
Arkansas (13-4 SU, 4-5 ATS) has won eight of its last nine games, including Saturday’s 69-60 win over LSU as a five-point home favorite. B.J. Young scored a team-high 19 points and dished out four assists. Julysses Nobles and Madracus Wade were also in double figures with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Mike Anderson’s team has been an underdog three times this season, going 0-3 versus the number. The Razorbacks have only been double-digit ‘dogs once, losing 75-62 at UConn as 12 ½-point puppies.
The Hogs suffered a huge loss early in the year when their best player, power forward Marshawn Powell, went down with a season-ending injury. The junior post player averaged 19.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in the first two games.
When these SEC West adversaries met in Fayetteville last year, Arkansas won a 77-76 decision in overtime as a seven-point home ‘dog. Powell had 22 points and 10 boards.
The ‘over’ is 6-1 in the last seven head-to-head meetings between these schools. The ‘under’ is 11-6 overall for UK, 6-0 in its games played outside of Rupp Arena (3-0 away, 3-0 neutral). The ‘under’ is 5-4 overall for the Hogs, but the ‘over’ is 4-2 in their home contests.
Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
–Kansas handed Baylor its first loss last night in Lawrence, cruising to a 92-74 win as a 6 ½-point home favorite. Thomas Robinson enjoyed another stellar effort, producing 27 points and 14 rebounds against one of the nation’s premier front lines.
–Memphis freshman Adonis Thomas is most likely done for the season after sustaining a foot injury at practice last Friday. The injury will require surgery and keep him out for 2-3 months. There’s an outside chance he could return for the NCAA Tournament, but the Tigers shouldn’t count on it. Thomas, a McDonald’s All-American, was averaging 10 points and four rebounds per game.
–FSU is in a classic letdown spot tonight when it hosts Maryland in Tallahassee. As of early this morning, most books had the Seminoles favored by 11 ½ with a total of 133. Leonard Hamilton’s team demolished North Carolina by a 90-57 count Saturday as a healthy home underdog.
–Middle Tennessee owns the nation’s best spread record with a 14-3 ATS mark. The Blue Raiders return to the court Thursday vs. Arkansas St.