February 2, 2013
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MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (20-1) at INDIANA HOOSIERS (19-2)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Indiana -4.5
The game of the season in college basketball takes place Saturday night at Assembly Hall when No. 1 Michigan visits No. 3 Indiana.
Since their lone loss of the season at Ohio State, the Wolverines have ripped off four straight wins by an average of 14.8 PPG, shooting 49% or better in all four victories. The Hoosiers have also won four in a row, but are just 1-5 ATS in their past six games. However, they are coming off a 97-60 drilling at rival Purdue on Wednesday. These schools have incredibly alternated wins and losses in each of their past 10 meetings, with Indiana holding a slight 6-4 ATS advantage during this pattern. Assembly Hall will surely be going crazy in this primetime game, but the Hoosiers are just 2-6 ATS versus Big Ten opponents this season. Michigan is 5-2-1 ATS in conference play, and is also 6-2 ATS (7-1 SU) away from home this season. Last season's matchup in Bloomington was decided by two points, and this season, the Wolverines' experienced backcourt will lead them to an outright victory.
It's no fluke that Michigan is the No. 1 team in the nation. The Wolverines commit the fewest fouls in the country (11.8 per game) and have the second-fewest turnovers in Division-I (9.4 TOPG). They also take good shots, ranking third in the nation in FG Pct. (51.0%), including a 40.8% clip from downtown (5th-best in D-I). Guards Trey Burke (17.9 PPG, 7.1 APG) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (15.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG) not only lead the team in scoring, but also make 50% FG and 48% FG, respectively. Burke ranks second in the nation in Ast/TO ratio at 3.85 and shoots 78% from the free-throw line. He made just 4-of-15 shots in the loss at Assembly Hall last season, but had seven rebounds and eight assists that game. He then scored 18 points with four rebounds and four assists in the home victory over Indiana last February. Hardaway shot terribly in the series versus IU last season (11-for-33 FG, 2-of-15 threes), but has made 12-of-17 FG (6-of-9 threes) in his past two road games. Freshman SF Nik Stauskas (12.6 PPG, 50% FG) has quickly established himself as one of the best long-range shooters in the country at 49.5% from three-point range, the second-highest mark in the nation. And since getting shut out in the loss at Ohio State, Stauskas has scored at least 11 points in each of the past four games. Fellow freshman F Glenn Robinson III (12.1 PPG, 5.8 RPG) has been outstanding in the past three games with 12.3 PPG on 16-of-21 FG (76%) and 6.0 RPG. Another freshman, PF Mitch McGary (5.6 PPG, 6.0 RPG) has done a great job on the boards, pulling down 19 rebounds in just 31 minutes in his past two games. With PF Jordan Morgan (6.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG) questionable for this game with a sprained right ankle, both Robinson and McGary will need to throw their weight around inside.
Indiana boasts the highest-scoring offense in the entire country with 84.0 PPG, while giving up just 60.4 PPG for a nation's-best 23.5 PPG scoring margin. Like Michigan, the Hoosiers are very smart and take high-percentage shots, making 50.0% FG (5th in D-I) and 42.3% from three-point range (3rd in nation). The Hoosiers allow just 37.4% FG (12th in nation) and do a great job cleaning up the glass with a +10.2 RPG margin (3rd in D-I). They will look to exploit their height advantage on Saturday with C Cody Zeller (16.1 PPG, 8.2 RPG) and PF Christian Watford (12.9 PPG, 6.5 RPG). Zeller posted his third double-double in the past five games Wednesday when he had 19 points and 11 rebounds in just 25 minutes at Purdue. Zeller also scored 18 points on 8-of-10 FG in the home win over Michigan last season and tallied a double-double (11 pts, 12 reb) in the loss at Ann Arbor. Watford has scored in double-figures in 11 straight games, and produced 25 points (8-of-11 FG) with seven rebounds in last season's home win over Michigan. PG Jordan Hulls (11.1 PPG, 3.3 APG) has been slumping in his past five games (9.4 PPG on 39% FG), but he scored 18 points (4-of-5 threes) with five assists in last February's loss in Ann Arbor. SG Victor Oladipo (14.0 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 2.5 SPG) is shooting an incredible 65.5% FG (8th in nation) and 53% (18-of-34) from three-point range for the season. He is hoping to be a much bigger offensive factor on Saturday than he was against the Wolverines last season when he scored just 11 points on 5-of-17 FG in the two meetings combined. SF Will Sheehey (10.2 PPG, 42% threes) has caught fire in the past three games, making 10-of-15 FG and 5-of-6 threes, and freshman PG Kevin "Yogi" Ferrell (7.4 PPG, 4.5 APG) has also stepped up his offense in the past three games with 12.3 PPG on 14-of-22 FG (64%).
MIAMI HURRICANES (16-3) at NORTH CAROLINA STATE WOLFPACK (16-5)
Sportsbook.ag Line: Miami -1
No. 19 N.C. State will look to hand No. 14 Miami its first ACC loss as the two teams square off Saturday afternoon in Raleigh, NC.
The Hurricanes have rolled through ACC play, winning all seven of their games SU and going 5-1-1 ATS with a scoring margin of 12.9 PPG. While the Wolfpack have struggled, losing three of their past five games SU, they own quality wins against No. 5 Duke and North Carolina, and are 5-3 (SU and ATS) in the conference. The question in this game will be if Miami's athletic frontcourt will be able to tame NC State's big men that have led them to a 50.3% FG on the season, the fourth-best clip in the nation. Another big question though, is if Wolfpack PG Lorenzo Brown (12.7 PPG, 6.9 APG, 4.3 RPG) will be available to play on his injured ankle that limited him to 10 minutes in Tuesday's loss. As talented as the Hurricanes are, their run is bound to come to an end and NC State is the team that will do it. Although few teams can match up with Miami's Kenny Kadji and now-healthy Reggie Johnson in the post, the Wolfpack can do just that with Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie. The Wolfpack are also 3-1-1 ATS against Miami in the past three meetings and have been tremendous at home this season, going 12-0 SU and 7-3 ATS.
NC State SF C.J. Leslie (15.6 PPG, 7.3 RPG) owned Miami when these two teams met in Raleigh last season, going off for 21 points (on 7-for-10 FG) and 11 rebounds. This season, has been one of the ACC's most efficient bigs, hitting 55.7% FG, though he has struggled with 3.0 turnovers per game. PF Richard Howell (12.7 PPG, 11.0 RPG) averages a double-double and isn't slowing down, having recorded double-digit rebounds in nine consecutive games with 13.3 RPG in that span. SG Scott Wood (11.6 PPG) is the team's sharp-shooter and led the Wolfpack to victory when they visited Coral Gables last season, hitting 4-of-6 three-pointers en route to a game-high 21 points. This season, Wood is knocking down 2.6 threes per game on a 42.2% clip. Brown leads the conference in assists, but could be unable to go, thrusting freshman SG Rodney Purvis into an even larger role with this team that typically plays only seven guys. Purvis (9.6 PPG) has the skills to become an elite scorer, but has yet to consistently find that form and is averaging just 6.5 PPG in the team's past two games after dropping 18 against Wake Forest. Six-foot-8 freshman F T.J. Warren (12.1 PPG, 3.6 RPG) has had a much more efficient freshman campaign than Purvis, hitting a remarkable 63.3% of his field goals this season. However, he is coming off a terrible game at Virginia Tuesday, with more fouls (4) than points (3), making just 1-of-7 FG. But in his past two home games, Warren has 20.0 PPG on 18-of-23 FG (78%).
Miami C Kenny Kadji (13.3 PPG, 6.8 RPG) seemingly gets better every game for Miami and is averaging 17.0 PPG in the team's past three contests, wins against Duke, Florida State and Virginia Tech, making 67% FG in that span. He's joined in the frontcourt by 292-pound bull, senior C Reggie Johnson (9.9 PPG, 9.2 RPG), who will be playing in just his fourth game since returning from a thumb injury. He has struggled to return to form in these games, averaging just 3.7 PPG on 2-of-14 FG, but remains a threat on the boards as shown by his 10-rebound performance against the Hokies on Wednesday. PG Shane Larkin (12.9 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4.0 APG) runs the offense and is a defensive menace with 2.2 SPG. He grinds out a remarkable 36.2 MPG and is coming off a 25-point performance Wednesday in which he nailed 5-of-10 three-pointers and made all four of his two-point field goals. The Hurricanes will also look for a nice contribution off their bench from junior SG Rion Brown (6.1 PPG) who averaged 12.5 PPG in the two meetings between these teams last season.