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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:59 PM

Thursday's Tip Sheet

Xavier at St. John’s (-5 ½, 143) – 6:30 PM EST – FS1

The Red Storm (20-8 SU, 13-14-1 ATS) is on their way to their first NCAA Tournament berth under head coach Chris Mullin, while picking up 20 wins for the first time since the 2014-15 campaign. St. John’s improved to 8-7 in Big East play after holding off Seton Hall, 78-70 to cash as 2 ½-point home favorites on Saturday. The Red Storm built an 18-point halftime lead as Shamorie Ponds paced the Johnnies with 27 points to avenge a buzzer-beating loss to Seton Hall to tip off Big East action.

St. John’s seeks its fourth consecutive home win as the Red Storm welcome in Xavier (15-13 SU, 10-16-2 ATS). The Musketeers begin Thursday’s action tied for fourth place in the Big East at 7-8 with Seton Hall, as seven schools in the league own losing conference records. Xavier has come back to life following a six-game losing streak as the Musketeers have won four in a row, capped off by Sunday’s home upset of Villanova, 66-54. XU has covered in all seven conference wins, but is 0-8 ATS in eight Big East losses, meaning the spread hasn’t mattered in these contests.

Amazingly, this is the first meeting between Xavier and St. John’s, who hook up in two of the final three games of the regular season. The Musketeers have captured seven consecutive matchups, including a three-game sweep last season. The Red Storm owns a 5-3 SU and 4-3-1 ATS as a Big East favorite, while finishing UNDER the total in seven of the past eight games overall.

Nebraska at Michigan (-12 ½, 131) – 7:00 PM EST – ESPN

The race for the top spot in the Big 10 tournament will be a good one as Michigan State, Purdue, and Michigan are separated by one game. The Wolverines (24-4 SU, 15-13 ATS) squandered a golden opportunity to beat the rival Spartans last Sunday in Ann Arbor by falling to MSU, 77-70 to suffer their third loss in the last seven games. In spite of limiting the Spartans to 5-of-20 shooting from three-point range, Michigan couldn’t slow down Michigan State from two-point range as it converted 19-of-28 attempts from inside downtown.

The Wolverines have yet to lose consecutive games this season, while posting a 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS record off a defeat. Nebraska (15-13 SU, 13-13-1 ATS) has slumped to a 5-12 record in the Big 10, which includes a dreadful 1-7 road mark with the lone victory coming at Indiana in January. The Huskers grabbed only their second cover in the past 11 games in Saturday’s 75-72 home defeat to Purdue as six-point underdogs.

Michigan and Nebraska split a pair of blowouts last season as the Huskers crushed the Wolverines in Lincoln as five-point underdogs. The Wolverines picked up revenge as five-point favorites in the conference tournament at Madison Square Garden, 77-58. Michigan owns a 2-1 ATS mark as a double-digit favorite in Big 10 play, while Nebraska is receiving at least 10 points for the second time this season as the Huskers were rolled at Purdue in early February as 13-point ‘dogs.

USC at UCLA (-3, 154) – 9:00 PM EST – ESPN

These Los Angeles rivals own identical 8-7 records in Pac-12 action, as both squads sit in the upper-half of the conference with three games remaining. The Bruins (15-13 SU, 11-17 ATS) are coming back to life after dropping three consecutive games as UCLA has won three of its past four games including a home sweep of Oregon State and Oregon. UCLA hasn’t been a great team to back in February, as the Bruins have put together a 2-5 ATS mark, which includes a front-door cover as 7 ½-point favorites in an eight-point overtime victory at California.

The Trojans (15-13 SU, 13-15 ATS) fell to 1-3 at home in their last four games at the Galen Center after dropping a 67-62 decision to Oregon State on Saturday. USC has compiled an 0-8 SU/ATS record in the role of an underdog this season, while falling by three at Stanford as 1 ½-point ‘dogs in their last opportunity when receiving points on February 13. The Trojans are 0-3 SU/ATS this season on the road in the front-end of a Pac-12 trip, while losing three of the past four weekday conference games.

USC took care of UCLA in the first matchup, 80-67 at the Galen Center to cash as two-point favorites on January 19. The victory snapped a four-game skid to the Bruins dating back to February 2017, while USC seeks its first win at Pauley Pavilion since January 2016.

Gonzaga (-24 ½, 144 ½) at Pacific – 11:00 PM EST – ESPN2

The top-ranked Bulldogs (27-2 SU, 19-10 ATS) have not been tripped up yet in West Coast Conference play by compiling a 14-0 record. Since losing back-to-back games to North Carolina and Tennessee, Gonzaga has won 18 consecutive contests, while topping the 90-point mark ten times in this stretch. The most recent triumph came in last Saturday’s 102-68 rout of BYU as Gonzaga scored 51 points in each half and easily cashed as 20-point favorites to end a three-game ATS slide.

Pacific (13-16 SU, 13-14 ATS) beat Pepperdine to begin February, but the Tigers have lost five consecutive games to slip to 3-11 in WCC play. The offense has been non-existent of late as Pacific has been held to 59 points or less in four straight contests, including a 32-point spot in a 58-32 setback to St. Mary’s on February 21.

Gonzaga crushed Pacific in the first meeting in Spokane, 67-36 on January 10 to cash as 26-point favorites. The Bulldogs have never lost to the Tigers in 12 meetings since Pacific joined the WCC in 2013, but Gonzaga has covered in only one of the past four visits to Stockton.

Washington (-13, 136) at California – 11:00 PM EST – FS1

It’s the polar opposite matchup of Pac-12 squads as the Huskies (22-5 SU, 16-10-1 ATS) are on their way to the top seed in the conference tournament. UW is 13-1 inside the Pac-12, while California (5-22 SU, 9-18 ATS) is still seeking its first league win at 0-15 and last won a Pac-12 game on February 3, 2018 against Oregon State.

Washington improved to 14-0 at home after beating Utah and Colorado last week, while extending their UNDER streak to seven. The Huskies own an 8-1 ATS mark as a conference favorite, but are listed as road chalk in Pac-12 play for the third time as they failed to cash as 7 ½-point favorite in a 72-70 win at Washington State on February 16.

California jumped out to a 34-28 halftime lead at Arizona State last Sunday, but the Golden Bears fell apart in the second half of a 69-59 defeat. In spite of dropping to 0-15 in the Pac-12, Cal cashed as 16 ½-point underdogs to improve to 3-1 ATS in the last four opportunities when receiving at least 10 points. However, the Golden Bears own an 0-7 SU and 1-6 ATS record as a home ‘dog in Pac-12 action, as Cal tries to avenge a 71-52 loss in Seattle last month as 16-point underdogs.

You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at [email protected]

Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.

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