Michigan Makes the Grade on Road at Texas

Willie Bee

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 1:23 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2017 1:23 PM UTC

Despite being without their leading scorer, the Texas Longhorns are favored on the NCAA basketball odds tonight against the Michigan Wolverines.

Michigan Wolverines vs Texas Longhorns

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Free NCAAB Pick: Michigan +6½ (-105)Best Line Offered: at Heritage

Even John Beilein has to be wondering which Michigan team he’ll be putting on the floor tonight against the Texas Longhorns. Will it be the group that blew a big lead and lost at Ohio State or the Wolverines that overcame a sizeable advantage on their home floor this past Saturday to beat UCLA in overtime?

Erwin Center is the site for this Big Ten-Big 12 contest between teams we expect to dance next March. With a big crowd behind them at home, the Longhorns are 6 point favorites at Bookmaker where the total is on the rise, starting at 126 and pushed up to 128½ overnight.

‘Horns Without Leading Scorer For This Matchup

This is the last true road game for the Wolverines who spend the rest of December in ‘The Mitt’ before climbing back into the Big Ten fixture. Inconsistent play has plagued the team to this point, and the inability to really put everything together for a full 40 minutes is reflected in a 5-5 record against the spread. Shooting free throws is also a big problem, Michigan ranking near the bottom of the nation connecting at a 61.5% clip.

Texas hasn’t been making any money for bettors either, the Longhorns just 1-3 in their four games that did make NCAA basketball odds boards. Shaka Smart’s side also struggled at the charity stripe the past two games, wins over Florida A&M and at VCU that saw Texas sink less than half its free throw tries (22-45). An even bigger concern for this game and the next few is being without leading scorer Andrew Jones, the sophomore guard suffering a hairline fracture to his right wrist in the victory over the Rams seven days ago.

Rivalry Trends, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick

These teams may have met only six times, but half of that total came in the last 45 months with Michigan winning all three of those games to take a 4-2 lead in the series. Three of their matchups have come during March Madness, most recent among them a Round of 32 collision at the 2014 NCAA Tournament that Michigan won, 79-65. The Wolverines also won a 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis consolation game, 78-72. Last year’s clash in Ann Arbor went down to the wire before UM claimed a 53-50 decision as 9½point chalk.

It’s also going to come with a lot of references to Star Wars, which is a reason I suggest the mute button being activated – you were probably already going to do that anyway with Dick Vitale behind a mic for the 9 PM (ET) tip on ESPN2. I’m 0-2 ‘capping the Wolverines so far this season, but will try them once again for my free college basketball pick.

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