Big Ten Trends and Angles

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Venue: United Center - Chicago

Overall Betting Results
Favorites/Underdogs: 8-6 SU, 8-6 ATS
Over/Under: 7-7
Sunday, March 17
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 3 Michigan
Overall: 28-5 SU, 19-14 ATS
Totals: 13-20 O/U

No. 1 Michigan State
Overall: 27-6 SU, 23-10 ATS
Totals: 14-19 O/U
No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 1 Michigan State (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET)
The Wolverines look for revenge after being denied the Big Ten regular-season championship in East Lansing last weekend. Winning a third straight tournament title would ease a lot of the sting. Michigan has won 10 consecutive conference tourney games, posting 75.8 points and winning by an average margin of nearly 14. John Beilein is the common denominator, finding ways to mold different types of teams into juggernauts by the time this juncture of the season rolls around. The head coach got wing Charles Matthews, his lone senior, back from an ankle injury to add depth. He makes a difference even though he hasn't looked 100 percent. Point guard Zavier Simpson has had a tremendous tournament getting everyone involved and controlling pace. Freshman Iggy Brazdeikis was voted the conference's top newcomer, but he fouled out in last weekend's loss after scoring 20 points and will be targeted for mismatches.

Cassius Winston has been nursing numerous injuries but playing through them, so he'll look to hold up physically in order to make the difference against the Spartans' arch rival for the second straight week. The Wolverines held him to 1-for-8 shooting before he made five straight buckets to open a 25-4 run and take control of the game. He's averaging 25 points and 7.5 assists in two games against Michigan. Center Nick Ward missed last week's win but has been effective in his return from a hand injury, giving Tom Izzo a post threat to consistently work through who is more consistent than Xavier Tillman, who had 17 points and five blocks last weekend. Stretch-four Kenny Goins has shot 6-for-15 from 3-point range while grabbing 27 rebounds against Michigan, so he'll be relied upon heavily again. The Spartans were eliminated from last year's Big Ten Tournament by Michigan (75-64) after losing in the regular-season.
Michigan State 69
Michigan 66

Saturday, March 16
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 4 Wisconsin
Overall: 23-9 SU, 16-15-1 ATS
Totals: 13-18-1 O/U

No. 1 Michigan State
Overall: 26-6 SU, 22-10 ATS
Totals: 14-18 O/U
No. 4 Wisconsin vs. No. 1 Michigan State (CBS, 1 p.m. ET)
D'Mitrik Trice drained a huge late 3-pointer to help the Badgers outlast another great effort from the 'Huskers, allowing the Badgers to survive a dreadful game from top player Ethan Happ, who had just four points and seven turnovers and sat the bench as his teammates helped seal their passage to this semifinal. This matchup with the Spartans is more up his alley, but it remains to be seen if he can leave his struggles behind and overcome being a liability at the free-throw line. Happ had 20 points and 12 boards in Wisconsin's 67-59 home loss to the Spartans in the lone regular-season meeting between these teams, but missed all six of his free-throw attempts. Trice, the younger brother of former Michigan state standout Travis Trice, joins guards Brad Davison and Khalil Iverson along the perimeter and must supply the scoring for Wisconsin to pull this upset. He shot just 1-for-6 from the field in the first game against his big brother's alma mater.

Nick Ward returned from a five-game absence after a hand injury and looked sharp. He's playing with a wrap but should be fine for this one if his conditioning holds up as he looks to duel with Happ inside. Cassius Winston isn't likely to leave the floor much here as Tom Izzo watched a 21-point lead with four minutes to go trimmed to five points as his starters left the floor against Ohio State. Izzo won his 600th game on Friday and got solid games from Foster Loyer and Kenny Goins as x-factors against the Buckeyes. Loyer played only one minute in Madison. Winston had 22 points, six rebounds and six assists in the win over Wisconsin and was named Big Ten Player of the Year earlier this week. His form suggests he's looking to add more hardware to his collection.
Michigan State 68
Wisconsin 61
No. 7 Minnesota
Overall: 21-12 SU, 17-16 ATS
Totals: 15-17-1 O/U

No. 3 Michigan
Overall: 27-5 SU, 18-14 ATS
Totals: 13-19 O/U
No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 3 Michigan (CBS, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Considering the Gophers were sweating their NCAA Tournament inclusion when they arrived in Chicago, finding themselves in this one should have them breathing easier. Will that affect their killer instinct here? Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy combined for 48 points to help upset Purdue and have been excellent down the stretch, but Richard Pitino is basically playing five guys and must sprinkle in a few more bodies to ensure his guys have something left in the tank if this is tight in the closing minutes. Freshman center Daniel Oturu had 13 points and 10 boards against the Boilers and needs to avoid foul trouble to stay on the floor. Dupree McBrayer, who was tremendous in the opener, missed all four of his shots on Friday. .

The Wolverines dominated Iowa in bouncing back from their regular-season loss to Michigan State, welcoming Charles Matthews back to the mix. They set a Big Ten record with their ninth consecutive win in this event as they look for a third straight title. Michigan shot the ball extremely well and clamped down defensively, making them a heavy favorite here against a Minnesota team it has already beaten twice. The Wolverines won 59-57 and 69-60 and have gotten better over the past few weeks with point guard Zavier Simpson getting everyone comfortable and taking control of games more efficiently. Iggy Brazdeikis and Jordan Poole have stepped up with Matthews out and continue to respond.
Michigan 67
Minnesota 57

Friday, March 15
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 8 Ohio State
Overall: 19-13 SU, 13-19 ATS
Totals: 16-15-1 O/U

No. 1 Michigan State
Overall: 25-6 SU, 22-9 ATS
Totals: 13-18 O/U
No. 8 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Michigan State (BTN, 12:30 p.m. ET)
Kaleb Wesson took a huge charge late in regulation against Indiana and set the tone at both ends for the Buckeyes in his return from suspension. An upset here would lock up an NCAA Tournament bid, and he should have fresh legs given his lack of action. Ohio State was held to just 13 second-half points in a 62-44 loss in East Lansing on Feb. 17 and fell 86-77 in Columbus on Jan. 5. Both Wesson brothers fouled out in that first meeting but combined for 35 points. The 'over' has connected in five of the last six games involving the Buckeyes.

The Spartans will get power forward Nick Ward back from a five-game absence after injuring his left hand last month. Watching how he responds will be key to handicapping the Spartans' chances the rest of the way since he's worried about getting into playing shape. His return will lighten the load on Xavier Tillman and Kenny Goins, who have kept Michigan State afloat over the last few weeks. Point guard Cassius Winston has been brilliant all season but shot a season-worst 3-for-15 last time he faced the Buckeyes after torching them for 25 points in the first meeting.
Michigan St. 74
Ohio St. 63
No. 13 Nebraska
Overall: 18-15 SU, 15-16-2 ATS
Totals: 14-19 O/U

No. 4 Wisconsin
Overall: 22-9 SU, 16-14-1 ATS
Totals: 13-17-1 O/U
No. 13 Nebraska vs. No. 4 Wisconsin (BTN, 3 p.m. ET)
The Huskers are just the second No. 13 seed to reach the quarters, doing so after an impressive effort against the Terps, who looked the part of heavy favorite early before completely falling apart. Credit Nebraska for hanging its own on the boards after being dominated in that area by Maryland during the regular-season. James Palmer had a tough time consistently finding his shooting stroke down the stretch but is averaging 29.0 points per game in the Big Ten Tournament, shooting 53 percent from the field while knocking down five of his 12 3-point attempts. Forward Isaiah Roby has been invaluable for Nebraska as the only guy on the floor with some size to him and has played all but four minute of this tournament. He had team-highs of 18 points and nine boards in the Huskers' 62-51 home loss on Jan. 29.

Badgers star center Ethan Happ finished with 10 points and team-highs of nine rebounds and four assists in their road win over Nebraska and has averaged 18.5 points, 11.3 boards and 5.0 assists over the last four. He was named First Team All-Big Ten for the third time in his career. Wisconsin's other senior, guard Khalil Iverson, will likely be tasked to try and slow Palmer and helped hold him to 5-for-19 shooting in Lincoln. In order to advance deep into this tournament and solidify a top-four seed in the NCAAs, Wisconsin will need Brad Davison, D'Mitrik Trice, Nate Reuvers and Brevin Pritzl to punish teams for collapsing on Happ by hitting the 3-ball. The 'under' is on an 11-3-1 run in games involving the Badgers.
Wisconsin 61
Nebraska 56
No. 7 Minnesota
Overall: 20-12 SU, 16-16 ATS
Totals: 14-17-1 O/U

No. 2 Purdue
Overall: 23-8 SU, 17-14 ATS
Totals: 16-15 O/U
No. 7 Minnesota vs. No. 2 Purdue (BTN, 7 p.m. ET)
After trailing much of the game, the Gophers survived the Nittany Lions when Amir Coffey got hot down the stretch, complementing 19 points from x-factor Dupree McBrayer and another double-double from the reliable Jordan Murphy. Minnesota has done enough to reach the NCAAs, forcing turnovers against the favored Nittany Lions and never getting discouraged despite nearly trailing by double-digits. The Gophers split their regular-season meetings with the Boilers and are now a perfect 4-0 at neutral sites. Coffey is averaging 27 ppg over the last four games and averaged 26.0 in the two meetings vs. Purdue. Senior center Matt Stockman posted nine points, six boards and seven blocks in Minnesota's 73-69 win over the Boilermakers on March 5.

Purdue missed half of its 18 free-throws 10 days ago in Minneapolis to contribute to its upset loss as a 5-point underdog, which is the lone game they've dropped over their past six. First-team All-Big Ten guard Carsen Edwards (23.4 ppg) led the conference in scoring but was held to just 19.5 points in the games against the Gophers, shooting a ghastly 13-for-51 from the field, which includes going 4-for-24 from 3-point range. The Boilermakers have reached the Big Ten Tourney final in two of the last three years. Purdue wants to control the boards behind 7-foot-2 center Matt Haarms in order to keep the Gophers from getting out in transition, so it would love this pace to be bogged down.
Purdue 67
Minnesota 63
No. 6 Iowa
Overall: 22-10 SU, 13-19 ATS
Totals: 16-16 O/U

No. 3 Michigan
Overall: 26-5 SU, 17-14 ATS
Totals: 13-18 O/U
No. 6 Iowa vs. No. 3 Michigan (BTN, 9:30 p.m. ET)
The Hawkeyes snapped out of their funk with an impressive blowout of Illinois, capitalizing off turnovers and taking control relatively early to eliminate all drama. Considering they hadn't covered in eight straight, last doing so on Feb. 7 before Thursday night, it remains to be seen how they hold up in a game that's tighter down the stretch, which should make this an excellent test. Nick Baer hit a career-high five 3-pointers to finish with 17 points in 17 minutes and was one of seven Hawkeyes to connect from beyond the arc. Iowa is playing on a Friday in the Big Ten Tourney for the first time since 2013. It racked up 25 assists and would've had more had it not taken its foot off the gas down the stretch. Michigan eliminated the Hawkeyes last year.

The Wolverines have won the Big Ten Tournament in consecutive years and are looking to get standout wing Charles Matthews back from an ankle injury to get back to full strength before the NCAA Tournament. He's missed the past three games and there has been no official word of a return despite the fact he put in a full practice. If he plays, he won't be 100 percent. Matthews shot 2-for-12 in the Wolverines' 74-59 loss at Iowa on Feb. 1, which also featured the bench contributing just three points and making one of 11 shots. Iggy Brazdeikis was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Years led the way with 16 points in the loss to Iowa. He's hoping his first taste of postseason basketball isn't brief. The 'over' has connected in four straight games involving Michigan.
Michigan 80
Iowa 74

Thursday, March 14
Second Round
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 9 Indiana
Overall: 17-14 SU, 15-16 ATS
Totals: 14-17 O/U

No. 8 Ohio State
Overall: 18-13 SU, 12-19 ATS
Totals: 15-15-1 O/U
No. 9 Indiana vs. No. 8 Ohio State (BTN, 12:30 p.m. ET)
A four-game winning streak has the Hoosiers hopeful they can avoid wasting the talents of lottery-bound freshman Romeo Langford and athletic forward Juwan Morgan, who scored 25 points in Sunday’s win over Rutgers. Indiana has averaged 90.5 points over the last two games and is a Big Ten Tourney run away from potentially earning the benefit of the doubt from the selection committee, which looked impossible after it fell to 13-14 by losing in OT at Iowa on Feb. 22. Head coach Archie Miller’s team has put up dreadful numbers shooting the 3-ball, so it will be interesting to see how they adjust to the sight lines in an NBA arena. The 'over' has prevailed in four of the last five IU games.

Kaleb Wesson returns from suspension after two weeks where the Buckeyes performed miserably without him, potentially playing themselves out of the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes were headed for a third straight blowout loss at Wisconsin on Sunday but battled back from 23 points down to force OT, ultimately losing and landing squarely on the bubble with a huge game to get with Indiana in the same boat. The Buckeyes beat the Hoosiers 55-52 in Bloomington on Feb. 10 as Wesson’s brother Andre led the way with 15 points. Ohio State held IU to sub-40 percent shooting and will have its primary rim protector back to help anchor the defense here.
Ohio State 65
Indiana 64
No. 13 Nebraska
Overall: 17-15 SU, 14-16-2 ATS
Totals: 14-18 O/U

No. 5 Maryland
Overall: 22-9 SU, 17-13-1 ATS
Totals: 13-16-2 O/U
No. 13 Nebraska vs. No. 5 Maryland (BTN, 3 p.m. ET)
The 'Huskers trailed Rutgers in the second half on Wednesday night but rode James Palmer's explosion to advance as he poured in 27 of his 34 points to help close out a win. Excitable coach Tim Miles took a spill running through the tunnel back to the locker room but may have saved his job in avoiding a disappointing loss. The 'Huskers come in short-handed with just six scholarship players available and are searching for their first three-game winning streak since December. Nebraska scored a season-low 45 points the last time they played the Terps (Feb. 9) and lost both regular-season meetings. It won last season's lone encounter vs. Maryland in Lincoln behind Palmer's 26 points.

The Terps are hoping to give their seed line a boost by making a run in Chicago and look to snap a three-game losing streak in this tournament, having gone out after their first game in each of the last two years. Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith form one of the top center/power forward combinations in the country, which could pose problems for the smaller 'Huskers, who were outrebounded 53-38 in the blowout loss referenced above. Fernando and Smith combined for 30 boards and five blocks. The 'over' is on a 3-1 run in in Maryland games and on a 5-1 run in Nebraksa contests.
Maryland 68
Nebraska 61
No. 10 Penn State
Overall: 14-17 SU, 16-15 ATS
Totals: 13-18 O/U

No. 7 Minnesota
Overall: 19-12 SU, 15-16 ATS
Totals: 13-17-1 O/U
No. 10 Penn State vs. No. 7 Minnesota (BTN, 7 p.m. ET)
No one wanted to see the Nittany Lions given their form down the stretch. They’ve won seven of 10 outright since February began, covering nine times. Senior Josh Reaves has been solid at both ends while junior forwards Lamar Stevens and Mike Watkins have imposed their will after slow starts. Freshmen Rasir Bolton and Myles Dread are now seasoned, and even with Bolton in a bit of a shooting slump, there’s no question Penn State has the weapons to make a run in this tournament. Considering it opened 0-10 in Big Ten play, it’s hard to question the resiliency of Pat Chambers and his group.

The Gophers look like they'll be dancing for the second time in three years after finishing under .500 and missing out on the postseason last year. Chaos wrecked the second half of the '17-'18 season, but this year's group has been consistent and will give Richard Pitino the third 20-win season of his six-year tenure with their next conquest. Amir Coffey and Jordan Murphy have been steady leaders who can be counted on. Murphy had 19 points and 21 rebounds in Minnesota's 65-64 comeback home win vs. Penn State on Jan. 19 and is a walking double-double. The Gophers are on a 1-7 run away from home, so winning here would ensure they don't have to sweat on Selection Sunday. Forward Eric Curry is out the rest of the way with a foot injury.
Minnesota 64
Penn State 62
No. 11 Illinois
Overall: 12-20 SU, 13-18-1 ATS
Totals: 17-14-1 O/U

No. 6 Iowa
Overall: 21-10 SU, 12-19 ATS
Totals: 16-15 O/U
No. 11 Illinois vs. No. 6 Iowa (BTN, 9:30 p.m. ET)
The Illini survived blowing a late lead against Northwestern and losing freshman big man Giorgi Bezhanishvili after he fouled out in regulation, persevering in OT. JUCO transfer Andres Feliz continued his late-season surge and joins sophomore guard Trent Frazier as a driving force for this group, which is playing with nothing to lose after snapping a 1-5 skid with their first-round win. In Iowa, they'll face the team that handed them their most lopsided loss as they gave up a season-worst 95 points. The 'over' is on a 4-2 run in Illinois games.

Upon getting head coach Fran McCaffrey back from suspension, the Hawkeyes lost a 93-91 heartbreaker at Nebraska on Sunday to drop their fourth straight game. Iowa hasn't covered in eight consecutive contests but crushed Illinois 95-71 on Jan. 20, shooting 68 percent from the field and finishing 15-for-21 from 3-point range. Freshman Joe Wieskamp shot 8-for-8 from the field and hit all six of his 3-point attempts and is one of a number of Hawkeyes who can really stroke it.
Iowa 83
Illinois 76

Wednesday, March 13
First Round
Matchup Records Skinny Projection
No. 13 Nebraska
Overall: 16-15 SU, 13-16-2 ATS
Totals: 14-17 O/U

No. 12 Rutgers
Overall: 14-16 SU, 17-13 ATS
Totals: 15-14-1 O/U
No. 13 Nebraska vs. No. 12 Rutgers (BTN, 6:30 p.m. ET)
Tim Miles' squad looked headed for the NCAA Tournament in mid-January, having just defeated Indiana in Bloomington to improve to 13-4. Unfortunately, they lost top forward Isaac Copeland to a knee injury before the month ended and the bottom fell out without his presence inside. Injuries follow the 'Huskers into this Big Ten Tournament as guards Thomas Allen, Amir Harris are out and Nana Akenten remains suspended. Without many quality bodies available, a lengthy run is unlikely, although they come off a 93-91 OT win over Iowa and have seen the 'over' prevail in five straight contests. Senior wing James Palmer can get wherever he wants on the floor but has struggled with his shot all season.

The Scarlet Knights are looking to record a 15th win for the third straight season here after coming up empty trying to pick it up in a one-point loss to Penn State and a blowout loss at Indiana that has forced them into playing on this first day. Forward Eugene Omoruyi is a load inside who can help Rutgers take advantage of Copeland's absence and Nebraska's depleted state. He and 6-foot-11 center Myles Johnson dominated the first meeting with Copeland still in the mix, while freshman Montez Mathis scored a season-best 20 points in that win. The 'under' has prevailed in five of Rutgers' last seven contests.
Rutgers 66
Nebraska 63
No. 14 Northwestern
Overall: 13-18 SU, 13-16-2 ATS
Totals: 10-20-1 O/U

No. 11 Illinois
Overall: 11-20 SU, 12-18-1 ATS
Totals: 16-14-1 O/U
No. 14 Northwestern vs. No. 11 Illinois (BTN, 9 p.m. ET)
It's been a long and brutally disappointing season for the Huskies, who haven't even sniffed the NCAA Tournament after finally breaking through with an appearance in 2017 after 78 years of failure. The return of seniors Vic Law and Derek Pardon fueled hopes, but not having a reliable point guard to run the show really put the Wildcats in a bind most of the season. Law left the regular-season finale with a leg issue but X-rays were negative and he's expected to play. Evansville transfer Ryan Taylor has been ill and is considered questionable. The 'under' has prevailed in nine of the last 12 Huskies' games.

The Illini have undeniably gotten better under second-year head coach Brad Underwood, who has at least established the foundation despite a slight decline in wins this season. Illinois has only won once in the past six games, but freshmen Ayo Dosunmu and Giorgi Bezhanishvili have joined sophomore Trent Frazier to form a formidable young nucleus. We'll see how they handle a tournament atmosphere against an in-state rival that it split with this season, claiming the most recent meeting 81-76 on March 3. Junior point guard Andres Feliz scored a game-high 26 points, shooting 16-for-17 from the free-throw line
Illinois 71
Northwestern 64