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Midwest Hoops Report

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Each week we will take an inside look at the pulse of College Basketball around the Big Ten and other schools around the Midwest. We will highlight certain trends, hot streaks, cold streaks, and injury updates. This week we will take an exclusive inside look at the Game of the Week between No. 1 Michigan and No. 3 Indiana.
 
Game of the Week - Saturday, Feb. 3 (ESPN, 9:00 p.m.)
 
Michigan Wolverines vs. Indiana Hoosiers
 
The 19-1 Wolverines travel to Bloomington on Saturday to face the 18-2 Hooisers in this #1 vs. #3 showdown. Both are tied atop the Big Ten standings at 6-1 in conference play. Michigan has been strong on the road in conference play, winning three of four away from home with a 3-1 ATS mark. Its only loss was a three-point defeat at Ohio State. Indiana hasn’t been great at home. The Hoosiers are 3-1 SU, losing to Wisconsin. They have failed to cover any of their conference home games. Michigan is 0-3 SU in its last three trips to Indiana.
 
Somewhat expected, neither team has been nearly as dominant in conference play compared to non-conference play. Michigan had a +25.3 scoring differential in non-conference play and is +15 scoring differential in seven conference games. Indiana was +30.2 scoring differential in non-conference and +9.3 scoring differential in conference play. Michigan has the slight edge in intangibles. The Wolverines are a better rebounding team, better in blocked shots, and have the better assist-to-turnover ratio.
 
Michigan is tops in the Big Ten in field goal percentage in conference play. The Wolves are making an astonishing 50.6 percent of their field goals. They are third in three-point percentage, making 40.9 percent from beyond the arc. Indiana isn’t far behind in field goal percentage, making 45.9 percent (fourth in the league). The Hoosiers are second in three point shooting, converting on 41.4 percent from beyond the arc.
 
Michigan forward Jordan Morgan is likely to miss Wednesday’s game against Northwestern with an ankle injury and remains questionable for the Indiana game. The 6-foot-8 starting forward averages 6.4 points per game and 5.2 rebounds. Indiana has a big lineup with Zeller, Watford, and Sheehey all capable of scoring on the inside. Morgan will be missed if he can’t go.
 
Injury & Personnel Updates
 
Missouri Tigers
Missouri’s leading scorer, Laurence Bowers, suffered a sprained ACL on Jan.  8 against Alabama and hasn’t played since, but is scheduled to return Wednesday night against the LSU Tigers. The 6’8” forward is averaging 16.8 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game. The Tigers went 3-2 straight up and 2-3 ATS without Bowers in the lineup.
 
Butler Bulldogs
Leading scorer Rotnei Clarke returned to the lineup on Saturday in the 12-point win over Temple after missing three games with a neck injury. Clarke didn’t show any signs of rust as he scored 24 points and notched nine assists. Clarke is huge for this Bulldogs offense. Butler averaged just 59.6 points in three games without Clarke. The Bulldogs average 73.7 in 17 games with him in the lineup. The Bulldogs are 6-0 ATS in their previous six games – with or without Clarke.
 
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Wichita State Shockers

Ron Baker could return sometime in the next week. The versatile guard suffered a stress fracture in his foot in mid-December. Baker averaged 7.3 points per game before his injury and was an important role-player for the Shockers. They’ve gone 10-2 in his absence and sit atop the MVC. His return should only strengthen this team.
 
Bradley Braves
Senior forward Will Egolf missed a January 26th game at Wichita State with a knee injury (Bradley lost 39-73). He returned Tuesday night in a win over Illinois State, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds. Egolf averages 8.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game for the Braves and is an important rotation player in the frontcourt. Bradley is 3-5 straight up and 1-7 ATS in the last eight games overall. The Braves are in danger of falling out of the MVC race and they’ll need Egolf in the lineup to contend the rest of the way. He is questionable for Saturday’s showdown at Creighton.
 
Missouri State Bears
Forward Christian Kirk missed Sunday’s win over Drake after suffering a concussion in the previous game. He remains questionable for Wednesday’s game at Creighton. Kirk is the team’s third leading scorer at 8.1 points per game and he’s the team’s leader in field goal percentage. Missouri State is just 4-5 straight up in the last nine games, but they are a very efficient ATS squad – covering eight of those nine games.
 
Trending Up
 
Minnesota Golden Gophers
Despite losing four of the last five overall, Minnesota continues to be a solid betting option. The Gophers have covered six of the last eight overall and stopped a four game skid with a huge 19-point win over Nebraska. In the game before that, they almost pulled an upset in Madison against the Badgers (lost by one point).
 
Marquette Golden Eagles
Marquette is 6-1 in conference play and tied with Syracuse atop the Big East standings. The Golden Eagles’ only hiccup was a two-point road loss at Cincinnati. They’ve covered three straight and are 5-2 ATS overall in conference play. Point guard Vander Blue scored 30 of Marquette’s 63 points in the Golden Eagles’ last win over South Florida. Blue is averaging 17.1 points in conference play and is a big reason why the Golden Eagles have ascended into the upper-echelon of the Big East.
 
UW-Green Bay Phoenix
The Phoenix have won five of their last six games overall and they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games. They are now tied for 2nd place in the Horizon Conference standings. 7’1” center Alec Brown has emerged as one of the top players in the conference. He’s averaging 16.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks over the last five games. Smaller lineups in the conference can’t find an answer for this big mans ability.

Trending Down
 
Wisconsin Badgers
After upsetting the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Wisconsin has de-railed. The Badgers have lost three of four overall since then and have failed to cover any of those four games. The offense is really struggling. They’ve failed to reach 50 points in three of their last four losses and have shot a combined 36.6 percent. That doesn’t include just 19-of-38 conversions on free throw attempts over that span.
 
Illinois Illini
Illinois is just 2-5 in Big Ten play and is just 2-7 ATS in the last nine overall. Over the last five games, the Illini are 1-4, losing all four of those games by double digits (average of 17 points per game), beating only Nebraska in the process. They have dates with Michigan State, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Minnesota in the next four games. Yikes.
 
Cincinnati Bearcats
The Bearcats have been getting overvalued by the oddsmakers as of late. They’ve covered just three of their previous nine games and are 5-4 SU in the process. All four of those losses were by an average of 2.5 points and three were against top-25 squads.
 
A Few More Notable ATS Trends
 
La Salle – 2-6 ATS over the last eight, 1-3 ATS as an underdog over that span
Louisville – 0-4 ATS run, all as a favorite
DePaul – 2-5 ATS over the last seven games
Cleveland State – 0-4 ATS over the last four and 2-7 ATS over the past nine
Illinois-Chicago – 4-1 ATS the last five overall
Akron – 10-0 straight up & 4-2 ATS runs
Ohio – 7-0 SU & 1-4 ATS runs
Eastern Michigan – 5-0 ATS run
Indiana State – 4-0 ATS run and 8-2 ATS over the last 10
Illinois State – 1-9 ATS over the last 10 games
 
 
 

  
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