Games to Watch
February 11, 2013
By David Schwab
For the last five weeks of the men's college basketball season the No. 1 team in nation fell in defeat. This week it was Indiana with a last second loss to Illinois. All this simply means is that the race to secure one of the top four seeds in this year's NCAA Tournament remains as wide open as ever with no clear cut favorite to win the national title.
The following is a brief preview of a top matchup on each day's slate this week along with a few facts and figures to help handicap the game.
Monday, Feb. 11
No. 13 Kansas State Wildcats vs. No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks (9 p.m. ESPN)
Kansas State should move up in the rankings after extending its current winning streak to four games with a 79-70 victory over Iowa State this past Saturday as a 6 ½-point home favorite. It now has the lead in the Big 12 standings by one game at 8-2 straight-up and is 19-4 overall. The Wildcats have covered in three of their last four games to move to an even 9-9-1 ATS overall. The total has gone OVER in six of their last nine games. Rodney McGruder is the only player scoring in double figures with 15 points a game and while Kansas State is only averaging 68.8 points a game, it is holding its opponents to 58.3 points.
The Jayhawks are mired in a stunning and extremely rare three-game losing streak after Saturday's 72-66 loss to Oklahoma as 11 ½-point road favorites. This slide has dropped them to 7-3 in the conference and 19-4 overall. It was the fourth game in a row where they failed to cover the spread to fall to a costly 9-13 ATS overall. Kansas will look to regain the form that had it averaging 73 points a game while shooting 46.9 percent from the field. The key could be the play of Travis Releford and Jeff Withey, who were both instrumental in the Jayhawks' 59-55 victory over Kansas State as 3 ½-point road favorites the first time they met this season.
Tuesday, Feb. 12
No. 3 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 12 Michigan State Spartans (9 p.m. ESPN)
It has been a wild ride for the Wolverines over the past three games with a tough 81-73 loss to Indiana as 5 ½-point road underdogs, a huge 76-74 overtime victory against Ohio State as seven-point home favorites and a 65-62 overtime loss to Wisconsin this past Saturday as two-point underdogs on the road. They are now 8-3 in the Big Ten and 21-3 SU overall. Michigan failed to cover in all three of these games and is now 12-9-1 ATS. The total went OVER in its last three games as well. The Wolverines remain one of the top shooting teams in the nation; hitting 49.8 percent from the field.
Michigan State moved into a tie with Indiana atop the Big Ten standings at 9-2 after knocking off Purdue 78-65 this past Saturday as a four-point road favorite. It is now 20-4 SU on the year and 9-11-1 ATS. The total has gone OVER in three of its last four games. The Spartans return home where they are a perfect 14-0 SU this season. Keith Appling leads the team with 14.1 points and 4.1 assists a game and Gary Harris is averaging 12.7 points while shooting 46.5 percent from the field.
Wednesday, Feb. 13
North Carolina Tar Heels vs. No. 4 Duke Blue Devils (9 p.m. ESPN)
The Tar Heels were hammered by Miami this past Saturday 87-61 as 7 ½-point road underdogs to fall to 6-4 in the ACC and 16-7 overall. They are 11-9 ATS overall and 3-5 ATS on the road this season. The total has gone OVER in five of their last six games. Despite the up and down nature of North Carolina this season, it remains one of the top scoring teams in the nation with 78.3 points a game and ranked fifth in rebounds with 41.7 a game. James-Michael McAdoo leads the team in both categories with 14.9 points and 8.2 rebounds a game.
Duke could very well find itself back in the No.1 spot in the new rankings after extending its current winning streak to five with a very tight 62-61 win over Boston College as an 11-point road favorite this past Saturday. The Blue Devils still trail Miami in the ACC standings by two games at 8-2 and are 21-2 overall. ATS, they are 13-10 and 6-6 at home. The total has gone OVER in six of their last eight games. Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry remain the team's top two scoring threats. Plumlee leads the Blue Devils with 18.2 points and 10.7 rebounds while Curry is chipping-in another 16.8 points a game.
Thursday, Feb. 14
No. 6 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Saint Mary's Gaels (11 p.m. ESPN2)
Gonzaga could crack the top five this week in the national rankings after posting its 23rd victory of the season against just two losses. It remained a perfect 10-0 in the West Coast Conference with a 74-55 drubbing of Loyola Marymount this past Saturday as a 24 ½-point home favorites. The Bulldogs have failed to cover in four of their last six games and are 12-10-1 ATS overall. The total has stayed UNDER in seven of their last eight games. Gonzaga has one of the most potent offenses in Division I with 78.6 points a game while shooting 50.7 percent from the field. Kelly Olynyk has led the way with 17.7 points a game.
St. Mary's will look to avenge an earlier 83-78 loss to Gonzaga as a nine-point road underdog. It was its only conference loss of the season to remain neck and neck with the Bulldogs in the standings at 10-1. Overall the Gaels are 21-4 SU and a perfect 13-0 at home. They are 12-9-1 ATS this season and 5-6 ATS at home with the total going over in three of their last five games overall. Matthew Dellavedova is averaging 15.9 points and 6.6 assists for St. Mary's squad that is scoring 77.8 points a game while shooting an impressive 49.3 percent from the floor.
Friday, Feb. 15
No. 20 Georgetown Hoyas vs. No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats (9 p.m. ESPN)
The Hoyas are just one game back in the Big East standings at 8-3 heading into a key Monday night matchup against Marquette. Overall, they are 17-4 on the year after beating Rutgers this past Saturday 69-63 as 4 ½-point road favorites. Georgetown has now covered in its last five games to improve to 10-7 ATS this season. The total has gone OVER in its last three games. The team as a whole is averaging just 64.4 points a game but ranked eighth in the country in points allowed; giving-up an average of just 55.7 points a game.
Cincinnati will try and snap a two-game skid against Villanova on Tuesday night before taking on the Hoyas in this matchup. Saturday's 62-52 loss to Pittsburgh as one-point home favorites dropped the Bearcats' overall record to 18-6 and left them mired in the middle of the Big East standings at 6-5. They are 9-11 ATS this season while covering the spread in just one of their 10 home games with a posted line. The total has stayed UNDER in their last five games. Cincinnati is scoring 70.5 points a game but shooting just 41.6 percent from the field and 32.2 percent from three-point range.
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