March 2, 2018
By Brian Edwards
Editor's note: Brian Edwards is on a 16-9 run (64.0%, +6.37 Units) since Feb. 22 and one of the losses was on last Friday’s Ohio State.-IU ‘under’ that only went ‘over’ due to overtime. Dating back to Dec. 8, his guaranteed plays have cashed at a 40-25-1 clip (61.5%, +13.31 Units!), so don't miss out on tonight's pay-if-it-wins-only selection!
**Nebraska vs. Michigan**
-- Michigan (25-7 straight up, 19-11 against the spread) advanced to the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals by beating Iowa 77-71 in overtime Thursday afternoon in the second round at MSG in NYC. The Hawkeyes covered the number as nine-point underdogs. John Beilein’s squad trailed by five at intermission, and it was made a nine-point ‘chalk’ for second-half wagers (-4 adjusted). The 148 combined points inched ‘over’ the 147-point total in the extra session. Charles Matthews led the winners with 16 points and eight rebounds. Mo Wagner was limited to 16 minutes of playing time and fouled out, scoring 11 points beforehand. The Wolverines took the cash on halftime bets.
-- Wagner leads Michigan in scoring (14.3 points per game), rebounding (7.0 RPG) and field-goal percentage (53.5%). Zavier Simpson (7.0 PPG) paces the Wolverines in assists (3.6 APG) and steals (1.2 SPG). Matthews is scoring at a 13.1 PPG clip and is pulling down 5.5 RPG.
-- Nebraska (22-9 SU, 22-7 ATS) is on one of the sickest ATS runs you’ll ever see, cashing tickets at an 18-2 ATS clip in its past 20 games. Tim Miles’s squad has won eight of its past nine games both SU and ATS, including a 76-64 win over Penn State as a three-point home favorite Sunday. The final score was misleading, as the assbeating was much more ruthless than the final score indicated. Nebraska led by 17 at intermission and PSU never cut the deficit to single digits in the second half. Isaac Copeland led the way with 17 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Isaiah Roby hit 5-of-6 field-goal attempts and scored 13 points, grabbed seven rebounds and three assists.
-- When these teams squared off in Lincoln on Jan. 18, Nebraska smashed Michigan by a 72-52 count as a five-point home underdog. Michigan had previously won eight in a row over Nebraska since it joined the Big Ten, going 5-3 versus the number. The ‘over’ had hit in three straight in this rivalry, but the 124 combined points dipped ‘under’ the 136-point tally. James Palmer Jr. scored a game-best 19 points, while Isaiah Roby contributed 14 points, three rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and one steal. Copeland finished with 13 points and Anton Gill was also in double figures with 10 on 4-of-5 shooting from the field.
-- Nebraska is currently in Joe Lunardi’s First Four Out in his latest edition of ‘Bracketology’ at ESPN.com. In other words, the Cornhuskers need to pass three teams to get into the 68-team field, at least according to Lunardi. Those thee teams are Syracuse, UCLA and Texas. The teams currently behind Nebraska who are also threats include Washington and Lunardi’s Next Four Out, which includes Mississippi State, Utah, Marquette and Notre Dame.
-- Lunardi has Michigan as a No. 5 seed that would face Louisiana in a first-round game in San Diego. The winner would advance to take on the 4/13 survivor of Texas Tech vs. Murray State.
-- Nebraska is No. 52 in the RPI Rankings, posting a 0-4 record against the RPI Top 25, a 1-5 mark vs. the Top 50 and a 4-8 ledger against the Top 100. The Cornhuskers have home wins over Michigan, Maryland, Penn State and Boston College. They have just one bad loss to a team outside of the RPI Top 100, falling 72-66 at Illinois a couple of Sundays ago in a game they led by five midway through the second half. Although the Big Ten is down this year, it’s worth noting that Miles’s squad did finish 13-5 in league play.
-- Michigan is ranked 15th in the latest Top 25 from the Associated Press. John Belein’s club is 26th in the RPI, compiling a 2-4 record vs. both the Top 25 and the Top 50. The Wolverines are 7-6 versus the Top 100. They own quality home scalps over Ohio State, UCLA and Maryland, in addition to road triumphs at Michigan State, at Texas, at Penn State and at Maryland.
-- The ‘under’ is 19-10 overall for Nebraska, going 4-1 in its past five games.
-- The ‘under’ is 16-13-1 overall for Michigan, but the ‘over’ is 3-0-1 in its past four contests.
-- BetOnline.ag opened Michigan as a five-point favorite this morning. However, it quickly moved the number to 4.5, while the total was 133.5 points.
-- Nebraska owns an 11-3 spread with six outright wins in 14 games as an underdog. The Cornhuskers are 11-1 ATS with six outright victories in their past 13 such spots.
-- Tip-off is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Eastern or 30 minutes after the conclusion of Michigan State vs. Wisconsin. As of early this morning, the Spartans were 10.5-point ‘chalk.’
**Rhode Island at Davidson**
-- As of early this morning, most books had Davidson installed as a one-point home favorite with a total of 144.5. A few offshores were all the way down to pick ‘em after the number was two at most spots last night.
-- Davidson (17-11 SU, 14-12-1 ATS) is No. 90 in the RPI with its 1-5 record against both the RPI Top 25 and Top 50. The Wildcats own a 1-6 record against the Top 100. They have just one notable win, beating St. Bonaventure 83-73 at home.
-- Bob McKillop’s team is off a gut-wrenching 117-113 triple-overtime loss at St. Bonaventure on Tuesday night. Making the defeat even more painful is how Davidson had the ball and a three-point lead when star Peyton Aldridge was whistled for his fifth foul on a terrible call as he was simply working hard to get position in the post. Aldridge had played all 51 minutes and scored 45 points to go with 12 rebounds and two blocked shots. Aldridge buried 14-of-22 FGA and a remarkable 8-of-11 launches from 3-point land. Freshman guard Kellan Grady exploded for a career-high 39 points, making clutch free throws in crucial situations in the first two extra sessions. Grady made all 16 of his free-throw attempts. Jon Axel Gudmundsson added 14 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists compared to merely two turnovers in 53 minutes of playing time.
-- Davidson has been outstanding at home all season, winning 10 of 11 games outright while going 6-4 ATS.
-- Aldridge, a first-team All A-10 selection, is averaging 21.4 points and 7.7 RPG. He has a 69/36 assist-to-turnover ratio and has hit 48.0 percent of his FGAs and 84.0 percent of his FTs. Grady (17.9 PPG) has a 54/28 assist-to-turnover ratio and is making 50.4 percent of his FGAs and 37.1 percent of his 3-balls.
-- Rhode Island (23-5 SU, 15-10-1 ATS) has already clinched the Atlantic 10 regular-season championship with its 15-2 record in league play. The Rams are 15-2 in A-10 action and will be the top seed at next week’s conference tournament.
-- Danny Hurley’s team is 17th in the latest AP Top 25 and 16th in the RPI. URI is 1-3 against the RPI Top 25, 3-3 versus the Top 50 and 5-4 against the Top 100. The Rams have home wins over Providence, St. Bonaventure, Charleston and Davidson, in addition to a neutral-court victory over Seton Hall.
-- Rhode Island is off its worst performance of the season by far. The Rams hadn’t lost to a team worse than Alabama (#58 RPI) when it went down 68-64 in Tuscaloosa on Dec. 6. Their only other defeats had been at Nevada (88-81), vs. Virginia (70-55 on a neutral court) and at St. Bonaventure (77-74), but they lost at home Tuesday to St. Joseph’s (RPI #155) by 30! That’s right. Phil Martelli’s team went into URI and won 78-48 as a 13.5-point road underdog.
-- URI is led by Jared Terell and E.C. Matthews. Terrell is averaging 17.6 PPG while draining 40.8 percent of his 3-pointers and 86.3 percent of his FTs. Matthews (13.2 PPG) has scored in double figures in four straight games.
-- URI is 7-3 SU and 4-5-1 ATS in 10 true road assignments.
-- The ‘over’ is 14-12 overall for the Rams, 8-2 in their road assignments. -- The ‘under’ is 16-11-1 overall for the Wildcats, 5-5 in their home games.
-- Tip-off is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on the CBS Sports Network.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
-- Missouri head coach Cuonzo Martin said Thursday that freshman 5-star recruit Michael Porter Jr. will play Saturday “if he feels good.” The Tigers host Arkansas on Saturday. With Missouri currently slotted by Lunardi in an 8/9 game, you know that potential No. 1 seeds like Virginia, Villanova, Xavier, Michigan State and others don’t want to see Missouri (with a potentially healthy Porter) in their bracket. Think about it: A team worthy of an 8 or 9 seed as it is currently constructed is adding – if his back doesn’t flare up and he can develop some cardio quickly – perhaps the nation’s most talented player in Porter. That’s not a team a top seed wants to see as early as the Round of 32.
-- Sean Miller went to war with ESPN and Mark Schlabach yesterday. War is probably a strong word, but careers and futures are undoubtedly on the line in this juicy controversy. ESPN’s Schlabach reported last Friday that his sources say that FBI wiretaps have Miller on a recording talking to Christian Dawkins, an associate of sports agent Andy Miller, about supplying him $100,000 to get 5-star freshman DeAndre Ayton to come to Arizona. However, after sitting out Saturday’s loss at Oregon, Miller held a presser Thursday in which he emphatically denied these accusations. Arizona apparently has his back and allowed him to coach in last night’s non-covering home win over Stanford. Miller was given a standing ovation by the home crowd when he came out of tunnel and on to the court. A report from SI.com yesterday threw that publication into the fray, and it took Miller and UA’s side. Meanwhile, ESPN and Schlabach are sticking to their reporting. Man, this is going to get wild! Like long-time Louisville scribe Rich Bozich tweeted yesterday as if he was caller on a sports radio show, “I’m just going to hang up and listen.”
-- With Middle Tennessee’s blowout home win over Western Ky. last night to sweep the season series, the Hilltoppers’ slim at-large hopes were dashed. Therefore, bubble teams want to root for Middle Tennessee to win the Conference USA Tournament, because the Blue Raiders are undoubtedly a team that will garner an at-large berth. If any team other than Kermit Davis’s wins the C-USA Tourney, that’s one at-large bid that’ll be stolen from a bubble team.
-- Was that the ultimate choke job by Louisville last night or what?! What on earth was the U of L defender doing anywhere near the shooter with a four-point lead and 0.9 seconds remaining? In that situation, you don’t even get close to a player on the opposing team, and you sure as hell don’t try to contest a 3-point attempt. The Cardinals fouled – again, up by four points! – UVA’s Ty Jerome with 0.9 seconds remaining. Jerome made the first two of his three FT attempts and then missed the third on purpose with the deficit trimmed to two. A UVA player went into the lane too soon on the third FTA, giving U of L the ball on the baseline. The referee clearly pointed out to the U of L player that he couldn’t run the baseline like you can after a made FG or FT. Nevertheless, he ran the baseline and was rightfully called for travelling. Then UVA inbounded a hit a bank shot for three for the win. I love it when athletes pay for making dumbass mistakes. The Cardinals remain winless against RPI Top-25 foes and barring a nice run at next week’s ACC Tournament, this will cost them an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Follow Brian Edwards' sports gambling opinions on Twitter at @vegasbedwards.
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