Wednesday Big Ten Tips
January 21, 2014
By Brian Edwards
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**Iowa at Michigan**
-- Most books opened Michigan (13-4 straight up, 8-6-1 against the spread) as a 1.5-point home favorite.
-- John Beilein's squad is off a 77-70 win at Wisconsin as a 7.5-point road underdog. Nik Stauskas scored a game-high 23 points and also contributed four rebounds and four assists. His step-back trey off a between-the-legs dribble put his team up by four with 48 seconds remaining. Caris LaVert added 20 points as the Wolverines ended an 11-game losing streak in Madison.
-- Michigan has won seven in a row, going 5-1-1 ATS in the process. This has oddly come on the heels of losing sophomore center (and likely future first-round pick) Mitch McGary for the season due to back surgery. The Wolverines aren't better without McGary, but they are just fine without him because of the increased scoring from Stauskas and LaVert. In addition, Jon Horford and Jordan Morgan are capable 'bigs' who play solid defense and rebound well.
-- Iowa (15-3 SU, 11-5 ATS) has its best team in a long time and is going to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006. The Hawkeyes are 4-1 in Big Ten play and have taken the cash in four straight games, including an easy home win over Minnesota on Sunday. Aaron White and Roy-Devyn Marble led the way against the Gophers with 18 and 16 points, respectively.
-- Fran McCaffrey's team doesn't have a shameful defeat on its resume. Iowa's losses have come at Wisconsin (75-71), at Iowa St. (85-82) and to Villanova (88-83) in overtime on a neutral court.
-- Iowa is 29th in the RPI Rankings, posting a 3-3 record against RPI Top-50 opponents and a 5-3 ledger versus the RPI Top 100.
-- Michigan's profile is nearly identical to Iowa's. The Wolverines are 28th in the RPI, going 3-3 versus the Top 50 and 5-3 against the Top 100.
-- Michigan has won seven of its eight home games, compiling a 5-1 spread record. The Wolverines' lone home defeat came against Arizona in a 72-70 decision.
-- The 'over' has cashed in four consecutive Iowa games to improve to 11-4 overall.
-- The 'over' is 8-6-1 overall for Michigan, 4-2 in its home games. The Wolverines have seen the 'over' hit in three straight contests.
-- The home team is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 games of this rivalry.
-- The Big Ten Network will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**Wisconsin at Minnesota**
-- Most books opened Wisconsin as a two-point road favorite.
-- Since winning its first 16 games, Wisconsin (16-2 SU, 11-7 ATS) has dropped back-to-back contests at Indiana and vs. Michigan. The Badgers lost a 77-70 decision to the Wolverines on Saturday as 7.5-point home favorites. Josh Gasser had a team-high 16 points in the losing effort, draining 4-of-5 shots from 3-point range. Frank Kaminsky and Ben Brust added 14 points apiece.
-- Minnesota (14-5 SU, 6-9-1 ATS) has won 11 of its 12 home games while going 4-4-1 ATS. The only home setback came against Michigan (63-60).
-- Minnesota is off to a 3-3 start in Big Ten play, but the Gophers are mired in a 3-9-1 ATS slump. They have wins over Ohio St., Purdue and Penn St.
-- Minneosta went to Iowa City on Sunday and led at halftime. However, it was all Hawkeyes in the second half, as they cruised to a 94-73 victory as 8.5-point home favorites. In the losing effort, Andre Hollins had a team-best 20 points.
-- Richard Pitino's team is No. 30 in the RPI Rankings. The Gophers are 2-4 against RPI Top-50 opponents, 4-5 versus the RPI Top 100.
-- Wisconsin has a balanced scoring attack with all five starters averaging at least 9.1 PPG. Sam Dekker paces the Badgers with a 13.8 PPG average.
-- Wisconsin is third in the RPI Rankings. The Badgers are 5-1 against RPI Top-50 foes, 9-2 versus the RPI Top 100.
-- The 'over' has hit in five consecutive Wisconsin games to improve to 10-7 overall.
-- The 'under' is 8-6-1 overall for the Gophers, 6-2 in their home games at The Barn.
-- These teams split a pair of regular-season meetings last year with the home team winning each time. Minnesota won by a 58-53 count in overtime as five-point home favorites, while Wisconsin won a 45-44 decision as a 3.5-point home 'chalk.' The 'under' cashed in both contests.
-- Although Wisconsin has beaten Minnesota outright in four of the last five meetings, the Gophers are 6-2-1 ATS in the last nine encounters.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 9:00 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.
**B.E.'s Bonus Nuggets**
-- If you missed the 3-point shooting display from Creighton's Ethan Wragge on Monday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, you really missed something special. It was like Loyola Marymount's Jeff Fryer against Michigan in the 1990 NCAA Tournament in San Jose. It was similar to Steph Curry against Wisconsin in the Sweet 16 at Ford Field during the 2008 Tourney. It was downright nasty. Wragge finished with 27 points, making 9-of-14 attempts from behind the line. He buried seven straight at one point and I'm talking about deep jumpers that are called WraggeBombs in Omaha. The Bluejays led at Villanova by 40 at one point. They won by 28 as 6.5-point road underdogs.
-- Wragge is a 6-7 center, but he has stunningly attempted just six two-point field goals this year. He has taken 148 of his 154 shots from 3-point range.
-- George Washington will be without its second-leading scorer Kethan Savage for the next 6-8 weeks. Savage, who averages 13.4 PPG, has a broken his foot.
-- Syracuse will be without reserve big man DaJuan Coleman for the rest of the season. He needs surgery to repair a leg injury. Coleman was averaging 4.2 points and 4.1 rebounds per game.
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