Games to Watch
January 7, 2013
By David Schwab
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The start of a New Year marked the start of conference play in men’s college basketball. This week’s schedule is jam-packed with a number of crucial matchups featuring some of the top teams in the country including Duke, Michigan and Arizona which all remained perfect on the year with another victory this past weekend.
The following is a brief look at the top matchup for each day of this week along with a few facts and figures to help handicap the games.
Monday, Jan. 7
No. 21 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. No. 14 Cincinnati Bearcats
While Notre Dame’s football team is in Miami trying to win a national title, its men’s basketball team will be on the road in Ohio trying to win its 14th game of the season against just one loss. The Fighting Irish are 13-1 straight-up overall and 7-4 against the spread. The total has gone OVER in six of eight games. Jack Cooley leads the team with 15.5 points and 11.4 rebounds a game.
The Bearcats should tumble in the new rankings after a 53-52 loss to St. Johns this past Saturday as 13 ½-point home favorites. They have now lost two of their last three games to fall to 13-2 SU and 6-5 ATS on the year. The total has stayed UNDER in six of eight games. Cincinnati is suddenly struggling to put the ball in the hoop after averaging 79.7 points in its first 12 games. Sean Kilpatrick remains the team’s biggest scoring threat with 17.9 points a game while also leading in rebounds with 5.8.
Tuesday, Jan. 8
Clemson Tigers vs. No. 1 Duke Blue Devils
Clemson opened-up play in the ACC with a 71-66 loss to Florida State this past Saturday as a 3 ½-point home favorite. The loss dropped the Tigers to 8-5 SU and 6-3 ATS. The total has gone OVER in their last two games. Clemson is averaging 66.6 points and 34.3 rebounds a game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field.
The Blue Devils rolled over Wake Forest 80-62 as 22 ½-point home favorites in their conference opener to remain perfect on the season at 14-0 SU. They are 8-6 ATS and the total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five games. Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry continue to lead the way with a combined 35 points a game. Duke is averaging 80.1 points a game and shooting 48.1 percent from the floor.
Wednesday, Jan. 9
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. No. 2 Michigan Wolverines
The Cornhuskers have lost back-to-back games to Ohio State and Wisconsin to stumble out to a 0-2 start in Big Ten play. They are now 9-6 SU on the year and 6-7 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in their last four games with a posted line. Nebraska is ranked near the bottom of Division I in scoring with an average of just 59.1 points a game.
Behind blow-out victories over Northwestern and Iowa the Wolverines have jumped-out to a 2-0 start in conference play and an overall record of 15-0 SU. They have gone 4-1 ATS in their last five games to improve to 9-4 ATS on the year. The total has gone OVER in six of their last seven games. Trey Burke leads the team with 18.2 points and 7.5 assists a game with Tim Hardaway Jr. chipping-in another 16.4 points and 2.9 assists.
No. 3 Arizona Wildcats vs. Oregon Ducks
Arizona continues to find ways to win to remain undefeated at 14-0 SU. After a controversial 92-83 overtime victory over Colorado last Thursday as a 12 ½-point home favorite, it squeaked by Utah this past Saturday 60-57 as a 19-point favorite at home. The Wildcats are 7-5 ATS and the total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight games.
The Ducks got off to a solid start in Pac-12 play with a 79-66 romp over Oregon State this past Sunday as one-point home favorites. They are now 10-2 SU overall and 7-5 ATS with the total staying UNDER in four of their last five games with a posted line. Oregon is averaging 77.5 points a game while shooting 46.7 percent from the field.
No. 16 Creighton Bluejays vs. Missouri State Bears
Creighton should continue to move up in the rankings with victories over Illinois State and Indiana State last week to improve to 14-1 SU (10-3 ATS) overall. The Bluejays face Drake this Tuesday Night in a Missouri Valley matchup before Friday night’s clash against the Bears. They are scoring an average of 79.5 points a game behind a stellar 51.2 shooting percentage from the floor. Doug McDermott has led the way with 23.1 points a game.
It has been a dreadful first half of the season for Missouri State with an overall record of 4-11 SU, but it is 2-1 in MVC play. Overall the Bears are 4-6 ATS and the total has gone OVER in two of their last three games. Anthony Downing is the only player scoring in double-figures with an average of 14 points a game. The team as a whole is shooting just 39.4 percent from the field.
Saturday, Jan. 12
No. 9 Minnesota Golden Gophers vs. No. 5 Indiana Hoosiers
Minnesota is off to a 2-0 start in the Big Ten heading into Wednesday’s road game against No. 11 Illinois. The Golden Gophers are 14-1 SU (9-4 ATS) overall and the total has stayed UNDER in three of their last four games. Andre Hollins and Rodney Williams are each averaging 13 points a game and Minnesota as a team is pulling down an average of 41.3 rebounds a game.
Indiana’s last outing was a 69-65 victory over Iowa as a seven-point road favorite on Dec. 31 to improve to 13-1 SU on the year. It faces Penn State this Monday night before Saturday’s contest. The Hoosiers are 8-4 ATS and the total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. They are ranked first in the nation in scoring with an average of 87.9 points a game while shooting an impressive 51 percent from the floor.