Sunday's Tip Sheet
February 16, 2013
By David Schwab
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The men's college basketball season enters the second half of February with many more questions than answers in trying to determine which teams are true contenders or hanging on as pretenders when it comes to winning a national title. The following is a brief handicapping guide for a few of the top matchups on Sunday's schedule that might help shed some additional light on the situation.
Game of the Day
No. 13 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 20 Wisconsin Badgers (1 p.m. CBS)
Buckeyes bounced back from consecutive losses to Michigan and Indiana with a 69-59 victory over Northwestern this past Thursday as 17-point home favorites. They are now 18-6 straight-up on the year and 8-4 in Big Ten play. Ohio State has gone 1-3 against the spread in its last four games and 12-9-1 ATS overall. The total has gone OVER in its last three games after staying UNDER in its previous six outings.
Deshaun Thomas continues to play at a very high level with an average of 20.2 points and 6.2 rebounds while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 38.6 percent from three-point range. Lenzelle Smith Jr. has been effective as well with 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds a game and hitting an impressive 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. Overall, Ohio State is averaging 71.6 points a game and shooting 46 percent from the floor.
Wisconsin has been in and out of the Top 25 all season long but it may be on its way back out after dropping a 58-53 decision to Minnesota in overtime as a five-point road underdog this past Thursday. The loss leaves it 17-8 SU and 8-14-1 ATS this season. It was the Badgers' third-straight overtime game after coming out on the winning end against Iowa and Michigan in the previous two. They are 8-4 SU in conference play this season including a 58-49 loss to the Buckeyes on Jan.29 as 5 ½-point underdogs on the road.
To have any shot at avenging that loss, Wisconsin will once again rely on a defense that is holding opponents to an average of 56.5 points a game, which is ranked 11th in the nation. It also has a trio of players scoring in double figures led by Jared Berggren's 11.7 points a game. Ben Brust is a close second with 11.2 points and Ryan Evans is averaging 10.6 points a game.
The favorite in this matchup is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in nine of the last 12 games. Ohio State has won five of the last eight meetings SU including the nine-point victory earlier this season.
The Best of the Rest
No. 9 Arizona Wildcats vs. Utah Utes (3 p.m. Pac-12 Network)
Arizona is 20-4 SU this season but two of the losses have come in their last two games. A 71-58 setback to Colorado this past Thursday as a 1 ½-point road favorite dropped it to 2-5 ATS in its last seven games and to 10-12 ATS overall. The total stayed UNDER the 135.5-point line against the Buffalos after going OVER in four of its previous six outings. The Wildcats are averaging 73.8 points a game while shooting 44.7 percent from the field. Mark Lyons leads the team with 15.2 points and 3.1 assists a game.
The Utes took Arizona to wall on the road earlier this season in a tight 60-57 loss as prohibitive 19-point underdogs. Since then it has been a rough ride with just three victories in the Pac-12 verse eight additional losses. Utah is 11-13 SU overall but a profitable 14-7-1 ATS. It is 3-1 ATS in its last four games with the total going OVER in three of its last five games. Jordan Loveridge leads a trio of players averaging right around 12 points a game while also leading the team in rebounds with 6.8 a game.
No. 3 Miami Hurricanes vs. Clemson Tigers (6 p.m. ESPNU)
Miami is one of those teams trying to establish itself as a legitimate No.1 seed for the NCAA Tournament and is doing a good job so far at 20-3 SU overall and a perfect 11-0 SU in the ACC. It is 9-1 SU and 6-2-1 ATS on the road this season to complement a very profitable 15-4-1 record ATS overall. The total has gone OVER in five of its last seven games. The Hurricanes have five different players on the roster scoring at least nine points a game with Durand Scott and Shane Larkin leading the way with a combined 27.4 points a game.
The Tigers' 1-3 SU slide in their last four games has taken them below .500 on the year in ACC play at 5-7. They are now 13-11 SU overall and 12-8 ATS with the total going OVER in four of their last six games. Clemson is averaging 62.8 points and 34.3 rebounds a game. Devin Booker remains the team's biggest scoring threat with 12.3 points a game while shooting 54.8 percent from the floor, but overall the Tigers are hitting just 43.1 percent of their shots from the field and 32.6 percent from three-point range.