Games to Watch
March 4, 2013
By David Schwab
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While a few men’s college basketball conference tournaments get underway towards the end of this week, the majority of the schools in the country still have one or two more regular season games to try and enhance their position for their upcoming postseason run. Everything from a No. 1 seed to a spot in the field of 68 in this year’s NCAA Tournament is still up for grabs so the action should be fast and furious all week long.
To get you ready for this final week of the regular season, the following is a brief preview of a key matchup each day along with a few facts and figures to help handicap the games.
Monday, Mar. 4
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No. 8 Louisville Cardinals (ESPN, 7:00 p.m.)
With just two straight-up victories in their last seven games, the Bearcats will probably have to win next week’s Big East Tournament to earn a spot in the Big Dance. They finally took a step in the right direction with a 61-56 win over Connecticut this past Saturday as 7 ½-point home favorites to improve to 20-9 SU on the year. Cincinnati has been costly to wager on lately as well with a 2-7 record against the spread in its last nine games to fall to 10-15 ATS overall. The total has stayed UNDER in 13 of its last 15 games. It is currently tied for ninth in the Big East at 8-8 SU.
Louisville remains just one game in back of No.7 Georgetown in the conference standings at 12-4 after pulling out a huge 58-53 victory over No.12 Syracuse as a 1 ½-point road underdog this past Saturday. The Cardinals are 25-4 SU on the year and 15-14 ATS after going 3-1 ATS in their last four games. They are 13-1 SU at home this season but just 5-9 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of their last 10 games. Rick Pitino’s crew is averaging 73.8 points behind Russ Smith’s team-high 18.4 points a game. They are giving-up an average of 58.3 points a game on the other end of the court.
Tuesday, Mar. 5
No. 14 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 2 Indiana Hoosiers (ESPN, 9:00 p.m.)
The Buckeyes come into this Big Ten showdown with three-straight wins including an impressive 68-60 victory over then-No.4 Michigan State on Feb. 24 as 3 ½-point home favorites. They were hammered by Indiana 81-68 as one-point home favorites earlier this season as part of an 11-5 SU record in conference play. Ohio State is 3-5 ATS in its last eight games and 14-11-1 ATS overall. It is 4-4-1 ATS on the road this season and the total has stayed UNDER in its last three games after going OVER in its previous four.
Despite a crushing 77-73 loss to Minnesota last Tuesday, Indiana has already clinched a share of this season’s Big Ten regular season title and can win it outright with a victory in this game and in this upcoming Sunday’s season finale against No.4 Michigan. The Hoosiers were 4 ½-point road favorites in the last week’s loss, which was just their fourth SU setback this season against 25 wins. They are 15-12 ATS overall and 10-6 ATS at home. The total went OVER the 139 ½-point line against the Golden Gophers, but it has stayed UNDER in three of its last five games. Indiana remains the second-highest scoring team in the nation with an average of 81.9 points a game.
Wednesday, Mar. 6
No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys vs. Iowa State Cyclones (ESPNU, 7:00 p.m.)
Oklahoma State is still in the running for the Big 12 regular season title at 12-4 SU in conference play. It is coming off a 78-65 romp over Texas this past Saturday as a 13-point home favorite. The Cowboys are 22-6 SU on the year and 14-11-2 ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in three of their last four games. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart have led the way this season with a combined 30.3 points and 6.7 assists a game. The team is averaging 72.6 points a game and shooting 44.2 percent from the field.
Iowa State fell to 9-7 SU in conference play with back-to-back losses to Kansas and Oklahoma last week both SU and ATS. It is now 19-10 SU overall and an even 12-12 ATS. The Cyclones are 15-1 SU (7-4 ATS) at home this season and the total has gone OVER in their last 11 games. They come into this contest ranked fourth in the nation in scoring with an average of 79.7 points a game. Iowa State has five different players averaging 10 or more points led by Will Clyburn’s 14.6 points a game.
Thursday, Mar. 7
No. 22 Wisconsin Badgers vs. No. 10 Michigan State Spartans (ESPN, 9:00 p.m.)
Wisconsin took a major step backwards this past Sunday with a stunning 69-56 loss to Purdue as a 14 ½-point home favorite. The loss dropped the Badgers to 11-5 SU in conference play and pretty much ended any shot of winning a share Big Ten regular season title. They are 20-9 SU overall and despite going 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight games still well under .500 ATS at 11-15-1. The total has gone over in six of their last eight games. Wisconsin is averaging 67 points a game while holding its competition to just 55.8 points.
Michigan State’s Big Ten title hopes also came to an end this past Sunday as well with a 58-57 loss to rival Michigan as a five-point road underdog. It was actually the Spartans third-straight setback after falling to Indiana and Ohio State in their previous two games. They are now 22-7 SU (11-13-2 ATS) overall and 11-5 SU in conference play. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their last seven games. Gary Harris and Keith Appling are each averaging just over 13 points a game and the team as a whole is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor.
Friday, Mar. 8
Kent State Golden Flashes vs. Akron Zips (ESPN2, 7:00 p.m.)
Kent State is carrying a three-game winning streak into its final two games of the season in the Mid-American Conference with Bowling Green still on the slate before Friday’s finale against the Zips. The Golden Flashes are an even 7-7 SU in conference play and 17-12 overall. They are 14-10 ATS and the total has gone OVER in seven of their last nine games. Chris Evans leads the team in scoring (17 points) and rebounds (7.6) while shooting an impressive 50.5 percent from the floor.
Akron has a one-game lead over Ohio in the MAC at 13-1 SU, but coming off its first conference loss of the season after falling to Buffalo 81-67 this past Saturday as a 6 ½-point road favorite. The Zips are 23-5 SU (13-9-1 ATS) on the year including a perfect 14-0 SU (6-4 ATS) record at home. The total has gone OVER in three of their last five games. The team is averaging 73.7 points a game while shooting 46 percent from the field. Zeke Marshall leads a trio of players scoring over 10 points with an average of 12.9 points a game.