Games to Watch
February 25, 2013
By David Schwab
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The men's college basketball regular season closes-out the month of February with a number a huge conference showdowns on the slate. Most of the regular season conference titles remain up grabs as well as the top seeds or even a place in this year's NCAA Tournament, so all the action should remain at a fever pitch.
To get you ready for the upcoming madness of March, the following is a brief preview of a key matchup each day this week along with a few facts and figures to help handicap the games.
Monday, Feb. 25
No. 8 Syracuse Orange vs. No. 17 Marquette Golden Eagles (7 p.m. ESPN)
A huge 57-46 loss to No.11 Georgetown this past Saturday as a 7 ½-point home favorite not only dropped Syracuse out of first place in the Big East standings, it has it tied with Marquette at 10-4 in conference play making this showdown all that more important. The Orange are now 22-5 straight-up and 14-9 against the spread. The total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. Brandon Triche and CJ Fair are each averaging over 14 points and the team as a whole is scoring 74.1 points a game while shooting 44.6 percent from the field.
Marquette is also coming off a tough loss after dropping a 60-56 decision to Villanova as a two-point road underdog this past Saturday. The Golden Eagles are 19-7 SU (11-11 ATS) overall and return home where they are a perfect 14-0 SU (5-5 ATS) this season. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last eight games. Marquette is averaging 69.2 points a game while giving-up a total of 62.2 points to its opponents. It is shooting 46.5 percent from the floor behind Vander Blue (46.5 percent) and Davante Gardner (55.4 percent), who have combined for 26.3 points a game.
Tuesday, Feb. 26
No. 1 Indiana Hoosiers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (7 p.m. ESPN)
Indiana enjoyed an extended break after knocking-off No.4 Michigan State on the road last Tuesday as a one-point underdog. The No.1 team in the nation is now 24-3 straight-up on the year and 15-10 against the spread. The Hoosiers hold a game and half lead over the Spartans in the Big Ten standings at 12-2 SU. They remain ranked second in the nation in scoring with 82.5 points a game while shooting an impressive 50 percent from the field. Cody Zeller leads the team with 16.6 points and 8.1 rebounds a game.
The Golden Gophers recent slide continued with losses to Iowa and No.18 Ohio State this past week to fall to 6-8 in Big Ten play. They are 18-9 SU overall and after failing to cover in five of their last six games their record ATS is 13-11-1. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last nine games. Minnesota is averaging 69.1 points while giving-up an average of 61.6 points a game. Andre and Austin Hollins are scoring a combined 24.7 points a game, but both are shooting less than 41 percent from the floor.
Wednesday, Feb. 27
No. 11 Georgetown Hoyas vs. Connecticut Huskies (7 p.m. ESPN2)
The Hoyas posted a huge 57-46 victory over No.8 Syracuse this past Saturday as 7 ½-point underdogs on the road to move into first place in the Big East at 11-3. They are 21-4 SU overall as a result of a nine-game winning streak and 14-7 ATS after covering in all nine games. The total has stayed UNDER in three of their last four contests. Otto Porter Jr. leads Georgetown in both scoring (15.9 points) and rebounds (7.7), but another of the team's top scorers, Greg Whittington remains out of the lineup indefinitely due to an academic suspension.
With back-to-back victories over Cincinnati and DePaul last week, Connecticut remains in contention for the Big East regular season title at 9-5. It has gone 6-2 SU (5-3 ATS) in its last eight games to improve to 19-7 SU (12-10 ATS) on the year. The total has gone OVER in five of those eight games. The Huskies are averaging 71.1 points a game and shooting 45.4 percent from the field with four different players scoring in double figures.
Thursday, Feb. 28
No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. BYU Cougars (11 p.m. ESPN2)
The Bulldogs continue to make a strong push for a possible No.1 seed in the NCAA Tournament behind a 10-game winning streak that has them 27-2 SU on the year. They have a two-game lead over St. Mary's in the West Coast Conference as a result of a perfect 14-0 record in conference play. Gonzaga is 15-11-1 ATS this season and the total has stayed UNDER in 11 of its last 12 games. It is averaging 78.6 points a game while holding opponents to just 60.2 points. Kelly Olynyk has led the way with 17.7 points a game while shooting an incredible 66 percent from the floor.
BYU is in third place in the WCC with a record of 9-5. It has lost three of its last four games including a 64-57 setback against St. Mary's last Thursday as an 8 ½-point road underdog. Overall, the Cougars are 20-9 SU and 13-15 ATS after failing to cover in six of their last nine games. The total has stayed UNDER in their last four games after going OVER in their previous four outings. Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies have combined for 38.9 points, 12.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists a game this season.
Friday, March 1
Loyola (MD) Greyhounds vs. Iona Gaels (7 p.m. ESPN2)
The Greyhounds have won five of their last seven games to move into second place in the MAAC standings at 11-5 SU. Overall, they are 20-9 SU and 12-11 ATS after going 3-5 ATS in their last eight games. The total has gone OVER in six of their last eight contests. Loyola has a trio of players scoring in double figures led by Dylon Cormier's 17.1 points a game. The team is averaging 66.9 points while shooting 43.1 percent from the field.
Iona has now lost six of its last seven games after falling to Indiana State 65-66 as a five-point road underdog this past Saturday. All these games could have gone either way given that the six losses were by a combined 11 points. The Gaels are 15-13 SU and 12-14 ATS with the total staying UNDER in four of their last six games. They remain ranked third in the nation in scoring with an average of 80.9 points a game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field.