Wednesday's Tip Sheet
January 11, 2017
By Brian Edwards
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**Minnesota at Michigan State**
-- When these teams met at The Barn on Dec. 27 in the conference opener for both teams, Michigan State (11-6 straight up, 8-8 against the spread) rallied from a 39-26 intermission deficit to force overtime and eventually capture a 75-74 win as a 5.5-point road underdog. The 149 combined points went ‘over’ the 138.5-point total thanks to the extra session. There were only 132 combined points scored during regulation. Alvin Ellis scored 20 points, including a pair of go-ahead free throws with 10.5 seconds remaining. Nick Ward had his way in the paint, finishing with a team-high 22 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots. Lourawls Nairn had 13 points, four boards and three assists without a turnover. In the losing effort, Nate Mason led four Minnesota players in double figures with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists.
-- These schools are in a four-way tie for first place atop the Big Ten standings with identical 3-1 records. As of early this morning, most betting shops had Michigan State installed as a 4.5-point favorite.
-- Tom Izzo’s team has won eight of its nine home games while posting a 4-4 spread record. When listed as single-digit home ‘chalk,’ the Spartans own a 2-0 spread record. They took their lone home loss 81-73 to a Northeastern team that hasn’t lost since then.
-- Michigan State saw its four-game winning streak both SU and ATS snapped Saturday in a 72-63 loss at Penn St. as a five-point road favorite. The Nittany Lions beat the Spartans on the boards by a 35-25 margin and forced them to commit 17 turnovers. Ward, the freshman forward, had 16 points and five blocked shots. Nairn was also in double figures with 13 points.
-- Michigan State star freshman forward Miles Bridges has returned from an ankle injury that caused him to miss seven straight games. In his second game back at PSU, Bridges logged 27 minutes of playing time and finished with four points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one blocked shot. In his first game back last week, a 93-65 home win over Rutgers, Bridges had six points, six rebounds, two assists and a pair of blocked shots in 17 minutes of action. For the season, Bridges is averaging 14.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game.
-- Ward is MSU’s second-leading scorer behind Bridges, averaging 13.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocked shots per game. Eron Harris (12.6 PPG) is the only other Spartan scoring in double figures.
-- Michigan State is No. 36 in the RPI Rankings, producing a 2-4 record against the Top 50 and a 4-6 mark versus the Top 100. We should note that the four Top-50 defeats came against Top-15 foes, including Arizona, Kentucky, Baylor and Duke. The Spartans’ best wins have come at Minnesota, vs. Northwestern, vs. Florida Gulf Coast and vs. Oakland.
-- Minnesota (15-2 SU, 10-5 ATS) has won two of its three road games while compiling a perfect 3-0 spread record. In a season in which Richard Pitino’s bunch was predicted by many publications to finish 13th out of 14 teams in the Big Ten, the Gophers are No. 5 in the RPI and any thoughts of his tenure coming to an end have been vanished. They are 3-2 against the Top 50 and 8-2 versus the Top 100.
-- Minnesota’s best wins have come vs. Arkansas, at Purdue and at Northwestern. The Gophers’ only loss besides the aforementioned OT setback vs. MSU came at once-beaten FSU, a team that smashed Duke by 16 last night. They also own notable scalps over Ohio State, Vanderbilt and UT-Arlington.
-- Minnesota has been an underdog three times, going 3-0 ATS with a pair of outright victories.
-- Minnesota is off of Sunday’s 78-68 win over Ohio St. as a five-point home favorite. Amir Coffey hit 7-of-11 shots from the field on his way to a team-high 19 point effort. The freshman guard, who was Mr. Basketball in the state of Minnesota last year, also had five assists and four rebounds. Akeem Springs, a grad transfer from UW-Milwaukee, buried 5-of-8 from 3-point range and finished with 18 and five assists compared to just one turnover. Jordan Murphy contributed eight points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocked shots.
-- Mason is averaging team-highs in scoring (14.4 PPG) and assists (5.7 APG) with a 97/32 assists-to-turnovers ratio. He is hitting 41.7 percent of his shots from 3-point range. Coffey (12.8 PPG) is averaging team-highs in field-goal percentage (46.6%) and steals (1.3 SPG). Reggie Lynch, a transfer from Illinois St., is averaging 8.6 PPG and leads the Big Ten and is fifth in the nation in blocked shots with 51 (3.2 BPG).
-- Minnesota is ninth in the nation at defending the 3-point line, holding opponents to 28.6 percent shooting from long distance. The Gophers are 13th in the country in field-goal percentage defense (38.1%).
-- The ‘under’ is 8-7 overall for the Gophers, 2-1 in their road assignments.
-- The ‘under’ is 9-7 overall for the Spartans, 4-4 in their home games at Breslin Center.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on the Big Ten Network.
**Butler at Creighton**
-- Both of these schools are in a three-way tie for second place in the Big East standings, trailing Villanova by one-half game after the Wildcats routed Xavier last night. As of early this morning, most spots had Creighton listed as a 4.5-point ‘chalk.’
-- Creighton (15-1 SU, 11-4 ATS) has won eight of its nine home games while going 5-3 ATS. The Bluejays have only been single-digit home favorites once this year, beating Seton Hall 89-75 as 7.5-point favorites. They’ve posted a 6-1 spread record in seven total single-digit favorite roles at various venues.
-- Greg McDermott’s squad has won back-to-back games both SU and ATS since suffering its lone defeat of the year at home to Villanova by an 80-70 score as a 1.5-point home underdog on New Year’s Eve. Creighton coasted to a 78-64 triumph as a 5.5-point road ‘chalk’ on Saturday. Justin Patton, a 6’10” freshman center who is from Omaha, scored a game-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field. He also had six rebounds, three blocked shots and one steal. Maurice Watson Jr. had 11 points, four rebounds and 14 assists compared to just two turnovers. Marcus Foster, who was a second-team All Big 12 selection as a true freshman at Kansas State three years ago, added 17 points and sophomore guard Khyri Thomas had 16 points.
-- Watson leads the nation in assists (9.0) and has a 144/58 assists-to-turnovers ratio. The senior point guard is averaging 13.2 PPG and is draining 51.9 percent of his launches from downtown.
-- Foster, who sat out last season after leaving KSU, is averaging a team-high 18.6 PPG. Patton (14.2 PPG) leads the Bluejays in rebounding (6.5 RPG) and blocked shots (1.6 BPG). Patton is third the nation in field-goal percentage (74.3%). Thomas is also scoring in double figures (12.5 PPG) while also averaging 5.2 RPG and shooting at a 57.5 percent clip from the field.
-- Creighton leads the nation in field-goal percentage (53.7%) and is fifth in 3-point shooting (42.2%). The Bluejays are 11th in the country in scoring, averaging 87.5 PPG.
-- Butler (14-2 SU, 10-4 ATS) is 2-2 both SU and ATS in four road assignments. The Bulldogs have been underdogs twice this season, winning outright both times. They handed Villanova its only loss of the season last week by a 66-58 count as two-point home ‘dogs and also beat Indiana 83-78 as a 1.5-point puppy at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
-- Butler’s two losses have come by four combined points, as it lost 72-71 at Indiana St. and 76-73 at St. John’s. Since falling to the Red Storm in Queens in their Big East opener, the Bulldogs have won three in a row both SU and ATS, including Saturday’s 85-76 overtime win at Georgetown as 2.5-point road favorites. Kamar Baldwin, a six-foot freshman who averaged a triple-double for three consecutive years at Apalachee High School in Winder, GA., led the way against the Hoyas with 16 points, five rebounds and four steals. Junior forward Kelan Martin finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Andrew Chrabascz, Kethan Savage and Nate Fowler scored 11 points apiece.
-- Martin is averaging team-bests in scoring (17.4 PPG) and rebounding (5.5 RPG). Chrabascz (11.9 PPG) is Butler’s only other player scoring in double figures.
-- Butler is No. 7 in the RPI Rankings with a 4-0 record against the Top 50 and an incredible 10-0 record versus the Top 100. The Bulldogs own notable home victories over the likes of Northwestern, Cincinnati, Villanova, Vermont and Providence. They’ve also won on neutral courts against Arizona, Vanderbilt and Indiana.
-- Creighton is No. 8 in the RPI, going 5-1 vs. the Top 50 and 7-1 against the Top 100. The Bluejays have home win over Wisconsin, Seton Hall and Akron, neutral-court scalps of N.C. State and Ole Miss and road victories at Nebraska and Providence.
-- These schools split a pair of meetings both SU and ATS last year. Creighton won 72-64 as a 1.5-point home favorite in Omaha, while Butler won an 88-75 decision a 5.5-point ‘chalk’ at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
-- The ‘under’ is 8-7 overall for the Bluejays, 4-4 in their home games.
-- Totals have been an overall wash (6-6-2) for the Bulldogs, but they’ve seen the ‘over’ go 5-1-1 in their last seven outings. In addition, they’ve seen the ‘over’ go 3-1 in their four road contests.
-- The ‘under’ is 4-1 in the last five encounters between these Big East rivals.
-- Fox Sports 1 will have the telecast at 9:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Baylor won’t be lasting on top very long. Just one day after claiming the No. 1 spot in the AP national rankings for the first time in the program’s history, the Bears went into Morgantown and got throttled 89-68 as 5.5-point underdogs. West Virginia was led by senior Nathan Adrian’s 22 points and a suffocating defense that forced Baylor into 29 turnovers.
-- FSU extended its school-record winning streak to 12 games last night by thumping Duke 88-72 as a short home favorite in Tallahassee. Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half.
-- Florida allowed an 18-point first-half lead to get away and trailed for parts of the second half before eventually pulling away for an 80-67 win at Alabama last night. The Gators took the money as six-point road favorites. UF redshirt freshman Keith Stone scored a team-high 14 points, including a pair of crucial 3-pointers. With Mike White’s team suddenly trailing by six with 10:50 remaining, Stone hit a trey to cut the deficit to 53-50. Then with 6:49 left, Stone put the Gators in front 61-59 with another triple and they never trailed again. Kasey Hill and Canyon Barry added 13 points apiece for the winners, who have won six straight at Coleman Coliseum and are 12-1 in the last 13 head-to-head meetings with Alabama.
-- Quinndary Weatherspoon scored 25 points to lead Mississippi St. to an 84-78 win at Arkansas as a 10-point underdog last night. The Bulldogs hooked up money-line backers with a +450 return (paid $450 on $100 wagers) as they won back-to-back SEC road games for the first time since 2011.
-- Speaking of generous money-line payouts, UNLV won a 71-66 decision at New Mexico as an 11-point underdog. Jovan Mooring scored 19 points for the Runnin’ Rebels, who closed at +500 to win outright.
-- Syracuse fell to 10-7 overall and 2-2 in ACC action by losing 83-73 at Virginia Tech as a 3.5-point underdog last night. The Hokies bounced back from a lopsided loss at Florida St. to improve to 13-3 overall and 2-2 in league play. Zach LeDay paced Buzz Williams’s team with 22 points. Virginia Tech had previously lost eight in a row to the ‘Cuse.
-- Tonight’s Games to Watch: Minnesota at Michigan State, Butler at Creighton, Pittsburgh at Louisville, North Carolina at Wake Forest, Georgia at Ole Miss, South Carolina at Tennessee, Seton Hall at Marquette and Michigan at Illinois.
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