January 18, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Since Dec. 13, Brian Edwards is on a 38-27-2 run (58.5%, +9.1 units) in college hoops. Brian’s guaranteed plays have cashed at a 22-10 clip (68.8%, +11.26 Units) since Dec. 8, so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Indiana at Michigan State**
-- Michigan State (16-3 straight up, 11-8 against the spread) has failed to cover the spread in three straight games and is suddenly playing its worst basketball of the season. The slide started on Jan. 7 when the Spartans took woodshed treatment at Ohio State, losing 80-64 as 6.5-point road favorites. Three days later at Breslin Center in East Lansing, Tom Izzo’s team had to get a late free throw and a defensive stop on the last possession of regulation just to force overtime as a 22-point favorite vs. Rutgers. MSU would knock off the Scarlet Knights by a 76-72 count in OT. Then last Saturday (1/13/18), arch-rival Michigan came to Breslin and captured an 82-72 win as a 9.5-point underdog.
-- Michigan State led Michigan by three at intermission and held its biggest advantage (five) in the opening minute of the second half, but it was all Wolverines after that. Moritz Wagner dropped a game-high 27 points on the Spartans, who made only 3-of-13 (23.1%) attempts from 3-point range. Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 19 points and blocked six shots in the losing effort. Miles Bridges finished with 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals, while Cassius Winston had 11 points. Nick Ward was in foul trouble all day, contributing only four points and five rebounds in just 14 minutes of playing time.
-- Michigan State is No. 1 in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (35.0%) and is ranked 22nd in scoring ‘D’ (64.0 points per game). The Spartans are third in the country in FG percentage (51.7%), 15th in 3-point accuracy (41.2%) and 17th in scoring (85.2 PPG).
-- Michigan State is ranked ninth in the latest Associated Press Top 25 and No. 35 in the RPI Rankings. Izzo’s bunch is 1-3 versus the RPI Top 50 and 5-3 against the Top 100. The Spartans have neutral-court wins over North Carolina and UConn, in addition to home wins over the likes of Notre Dame, Nebraska and Maryland.
-- Bridges, a true sophomore forward, is averaging 16.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocked shots per game. He has a 56/34 assist-to-turnover ratio. Ward (14.3 PPG, 1.6 BPG) leads the team in rebounding (7.5 RPG) and FG percentage (69.7%), while Joshua Langford (13.5 PPG) is draining 46.2 percent of his 3-balls. Winston (12.7 PPG) is hitting 52.4 percent of his treys and has a 130/48 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Jackson (11.5 PPG) paces MSU in steals (0.8 SPG) and blocks (3.2 BPG).
-- MSU has won 11 of its 12 home games while posting an 8-4 spread record. The Spartans are 7-3 ATS in 10 games as double-digit home favorites.
-- As of early Thursday night, most betting shops had the Spartans listed as 15.5-point favorites with a total of 140.
-- Indiana (11-7 SU, 9-9 ATS) has lost four of its five road games both SU and ATS. The Hoosiers failed to cover the number in their lone game as double-digit underdogs, losing 84-68 at Seton Hall as 11-point ‘dogs. This is obviously their richest spot as ‘dogs this year.
-- Archie Miller’s first IU squad is playing its best basketball of the season, winning three in a row and five of its past six both SU and ATS. The Hoosiers are off Sunday’s 66-46 win over Northwestern as three-point home favorites. Robert Johnson was the catalyst with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists and one blocked shot. Josh Newkirk added 12 points. IU held the Wildcats to an abysmal 15-of-56 shooting performance (26.8%) from the field.
-- Indiana is No. 104 in the RPI Rankings, going winless in four games against Top-50 foes and 2-4 versus the Top 100. The Hoosiers beat Notre Dame on a neutral floor and won at Minnesota.
-- Junior forward Juwan Morgan leads IU in scoring (15.6 PPG), rebounding (7.4 RPG) and blocked shots (1.4 BPG). Morgan is making 59.3 percent of his FGAs. Johnson (13.6 PPG) is IU’s only other double-figure scorer.
-- Indiana lost sophomore power forward De’Ron Davis to a season-ending injury two weeks ago. Davis was averaging 9.6 points and 4.3 RPG while pacing the Hoosiers in FG percentage (61.5%) and blocks (1.5 BPG).
-- The ‘under’ is on a 5-1 run for IU in its last six games. Totals have been an overall wash (9-9) for the Hoosiers, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ go 4-1 in their five road assignments.
-- The ‘over’ is 11-7 overall for the Spartans, 9-2 in their home games. The ‘over’ is on a 7-2 run for -- Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Fox Sports 1.
**St. Bonaventure at Davidson**
-- As of early Thursday night, most books had Davidson (9-7 SU, 7-8 ATS) listed as a four-point favorite with a total of 145.
-- Davidson is in second place in the Atlantic 10 with a 4-1 record in league play, leaving it 1.5 games back of Rhode Island with its 6-0 mark in A-10 action. The Wildcats have won four games in a row and has covered the number in three straight.
-- Bob McKillop’s team is unbeaten in five home games with a 2-2 spread record.
-- Davidson dealt out a seal clubbing Sunday when it won 75-45 at Fordham as an eight-point road favorite. Jon Axel Gudmundsson led the way with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists compared to only one turnover. Gudmundsson drained 3-of-5 attempts from 3-point range. Kellan Grady added 14 points and three assists without a turnover, burying 4-of-5 launches from downtown. Oskar Michelsen and Peyton Aldridge were also in double figures with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
-- Davidson is No. 130 in the RPI, going 0-3 versus the Top 50 and 0-4 against the Top 100. All three defeats against Top-50 opponents came by double-digit margins, although the loss to New Mexico St. (RPI #55) on a neutral court was a 69-68 setback. The Wildcats have zero victories over opponents with an RPI of No. 189 or better. Furthermore, they’ve lost three games to team with an RPI of 187 or worse.
-- Davidson is led by Aldridge, the senior forward who is tops on his team in scoring (19.8 PPG), rebounding (6.9 RPG) and blocks (0.6 BPG). Gudmundsson (14.6 PPG) leads the Wildcats in assists (4.6 APG) and steals (1.6 SPG), with a 74/30 assist-to-turnover ratio. Grady (15.8 PPG) is shooting at a 40.2 percent from long distance.
-- St. Bonaventure (12-5 SU, 7-7 ATS) went 10-2 in non-conference play, but it is only 1.5 games out of the A-10 cellar with its 2-3 league record. Nevertheless, the Bonnies are still in a solid position (see where ESPN’s Joe Lunardi has them listed in Bonus Nuggets below) to get to their first NCAA Tournament since 2012.
-- Mark Schmidt’s squad is 4-3 SU and 3-4 ATS on the road. The Bonnies are 2-1 both SU and ATS in three contests as road underdogs.
-- St. Bonaventure has lost three of its past four games both SU and ATS, including Saturday’s 87-73 loss at Rhode Island as a 7.5-point underdog. Jaylen Adams and Matt Mobley scored 19 points apiece, while Courtney Stockard finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, two steals and a pair of assists.
-- St. Bonaventure is No. 45 in the RPI, compiling a 2-2 record against the Top 50 and a 4-3 mark versus the Top 100. The Bonnies own wins at Buffalo (RPI #34) and at Syracuse, in addition to neutral-court scalps of Maryland and Vermont.
-- Although he missed six games in November when St. Bonaventure went 4-2 SU, Adams has been making up for it since then. He’s averaging 18.5 points, 5.1 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Adams is shooting at a 52.9 percent clip from 3-point land and has made 83.8 percent of his FTs. Mobley (17.1 PPG) paces his team in assists (2.8 APG) and steals (1.4 SPG), and he’s also pulling down 4.9 RPG. Stockard is averaging 11.3 points and 5.5 RPG, while LaDarien Griffin (9.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG) leads the Bonnies in FG percentage (47.7%) and blocks (1.3 BPG).
-- The ‘under’ is 10-5 overall for the Wildcats, 3-1 in their home outings. They’ve seen the ‘under’ cash in five straight regardless of the venue.
-- The ‘over’ has hit in five consecutive games for the Bonnies to improve to 8-6 overall. However, they’ve seen the ‘under’ go 4-3 in their road contests.
-- ESPN will have the telecast at 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Creighton junior forward Martin Krampelj has been enjoying a breakout campaign, making his loss to a season-ending ACL tear even more painful for Doug McDermott’s team. Krampelj was averaging 11.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game before sustaining the injury in Wednesday’s 80-63 home win over Seton Hall.
-- Joe Lunardi’s latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ was released Thursday and had the ACC (9) and SEC (8) composing 17 teams out of the 68-school field. The ‘last four byes’ included Notre Dame, Alabama, Boise State and Syracuse, while the ‘last four in’ were UCLA, Maryland, Middle Tennessee and Providence. The ‘first four out’ included USC, Georgia, Baylor and Houston, while the ‘next four out’ had SMU, St. Bonaventure, Kansas St. and Virginia Tech.
-- Wisconsin is a 4.5-point home favorite vs. Illinois on Friday at 9:00 p.m. Eastern on FS1.
--Check out the rest of tonight’s TV games here.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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