Free NCAA Basketball Picks for Saturday's Michigan vs. Arizona

Jeff Grant

Friday, December 12, 2014 3:33 PM GMT

Michigan has really struggled on the offensive end in December, which could lead to a blowout loss against third-ranked Arizona at the McKale Center Saturday.

Up Against It
Michigan hasn’t lost three games in a row since 2010-11, which is important to consider when making your NCAA basketball picks, as it has shot a combined 38.1 percent from the floor in suffering home setbacks to NJIT and Eastern Michigan.

The Wolverines are 23-20 SU in true road games the last five seasons, as they prepare to play their only contest outside of Ann Arbor Saturday, while also trying to avenge a 72-70 home defeat to the Wildcats last year.

Sports bettors will find that the squad is 38-16-1 ATS in its last 55 affairs following a SU loss.

 

Building Something Special
Arizona is certainly a national title contender under head coach Sean Miller, as it has opened up with a perfect 9-0 SU record, with quality wins over the likes of Gonzaga and San Diego State.

The Wildcats have put together the fifth-longest home winning streak in school history at 27 games, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, while also producing victories in its last eight non-conference games versus Power 5 conference members.

It’s important to point out that the program has covered the number in four of its last five meetings against Big Ten opponents.

 

Banged Up
A big reason why the Wolverines have struggled offensively is the fact that guards Spike Albrecht (undisclosed) and Derrick Walton Jr. (toe) have been dealing with injuries for most of the year.

Walton is the key player to watch in this high-profile matchup, as he combines with Zak Irvin and Caris Levert to produce 62.1 percent of the team’s scoring.

 

Controlling the Game
The Wildcats are 13th in the country in defensive efficiency, which starts out on the perimeter with active guards, as they lead the Pac-12 with an average of 8.7 steals per game.

Arizona is in the midst of a 54-game streak in which it has not allowed an opponent to reach the 80-point mark, while it has limited teams to 1.7 fast-break points per game.

 

Outlook
I’ve established the Wildcats as 10.5-point favorites, which means readers should back the home team at a number below that level, while look in the Wolverines direction at +11 or higher.