Indiana Likely To Join Ranks Of One-And-Done No. 1 Teams This Week?
Indiana is back where it started this college basketball season: atop the polls. The nation's top-ranked team has lost in each of the past four weeks, however, and IU's schedule this week looks rather daunting for the Hoosiers to be able to avoid a similar fate.
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Indiana beat former No. 1 Michigan 81-73 on Saturday in Bloomington. That, coupled with USA Today No. 1 Kansas' loss on the same day to Oklahoma State, returned Coach Tom Crean's club to the top spot in the polls. IU fell from the top spot in mid-December when it was beaten 88-86 in overtime by Butler in Indianapolis.
Duke started this four-week streak of the No. 1 team losing. The Blue Devils were followed by Louisville, then Duke regained the top spot only to lose again, and finally Michigan. It's the first time there have been five-straight new No. 1 teams in the Associated Press poll since the 2008-09 season.
Indiana will play back-to-back road games this week (only second time this season) against Illinois on Thursday and No. 10 Ohio State on Sunday. The book will offer live play-by-play betting on the Illini game. Expect a spirited effort for Illinois (15-8, 2-7 Big Ten), a former top 10 team themselves. The Illini right now are on the outside looking in for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. Since an impressive 74-55 win over then-No. 8 Ohio State on January 5, Illinois has lost six of seven. In fact, they're 3-8 since a 12-0 start.
Coach John Groce tried to shake things up by bringing star Brandon Paul, the Big Ten's third-leading scorer, off the bench for the first time this season Sunday against Wisconsin, but it didn't change things as Illinois lost 74-68 for its fourth-straight home defeat. The school is on its longest home skid since the 2007-08 season. The Illini haven't played a No. 1 team since losing 73-68 at home to Ohio State on January 22, 2011.
Other Live Betting Games
Certainly no team has a rougher schedule than Ohio State this week as the Buckeyes visit No. 3 Michigan on Tuesday, which will have live play-by-play betting at the book, before hosting the Hoosiers. The Wolverines, who opened as six-point favorites, will be looking for a little payback as their only other loss of the season came in Columbus, 56-53 on January 13. U-M became the last team in the nation to suffer its first loss.
One of the best individual matchups you will see all season will be when Ohio State's Aaron Craft, perhaps the nation's top perimeter defender, guards Wolverines star guard Trey Burke. He had 15 points but was only 4-for-13 from the field in the first meeting, including rimming out a potential tying shot with seconds remaining. OSU coach Thad Matta is a stellar 17-3 against Michigan since arriving in Columbus in 2004.
Also available for Live Betting Tuesday is No. 2 Florida at Arkansas and Villanova at DePaul. The Gators (20-2) certainly have a case to be ranked No. 1. Billy Donovan's club has won 10-straight games, each by at least 14 points. UF is at its highest ranking since it was the top-ranked team in the country following the 2006-07 season. Florida ranks second in the nation in scoring defense, allowing 51.0 points per game, and leads the nation with a plus-23.0 averaging scoring margin.
A victory Tuesday would mark the first time in school history that Florida has won five-straight SEC road games, and it is a nine-point favorite. Arkansas could be poised to pull the upset, as it is 13-1 at home this year (3-3 ATS). That loss came to No. 6 Syracuse when the Orange had their full assortment of players (two starters now out). UF did win by 30 last year in Fayetteville and has won five straight against the Hogs.
On Wednesday, the book offers Baylor at No. 22 Oklahoma State, Connecticut at St. John's and No. 5 Kansas at TCU. The Jayhawks saw their 18-game winning streak and 33-game home winning streak snapped in Saturday's upset loss to Oklahoma State. KU had beaten the Cowboys 16-straight times at Allen Fieldhouse, and OSU hadn't beaten a top five team on the road since 1958. The Frogs (9-12, 0-8) don't figure to pose much trouble as they are the only team without a Big 12 win in their first season in the conference - all but one of those eight losses have been by double-digits (2-6 ATS). KU hasn't lost back-to-back games since January 2006.
In addition to Indiana-Illinois on Thursday, the book also will offer Washington at UCLA and Saint Mary's (Calif.) at Santa Clara that night. Check back Thursday for a weekend Live Betting schedule preview.
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