NCAA Basketball Betting: Big Ten Tournament Semifinals Free Picks

Willie Bee

Saturday, March 12, 2016 1:23 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 12, 2016 1:23 PM UTC

Can the Michigan Wolverines keep the magic going at least one more day, or will the NCAA basketball odds finally catch up to them in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals?

I'm calling it the Maize & Blue effect. It started with Michigan's late collapse against Northwestern on Day 2 of the Big Ten Tournament, the Wolverines' inability to sink a couple of free throws or box out on the defensive glass forcing overtime and ruining my 'under' play in the contest.

That started a downhill slide with my free NCAA basketball picks that continued into Friday's clashes at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Michigan stuck it to me again in the quarters with a 72-69 victory over top-seeded Indiana, but that turned out to be the only upset of the day as Purdue, Maryland and Michigan State all rolled past their respective opponents.

We're now down to the last four squads hoping to earn the title and the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Will the Wolverines mess with us again, or will John Beilein's boys get their just dessert after playing the role of turds in our punchbowl the past couple of days?


Will The Magic Continue For Michigan?
Joe Lunardi of ESPN says No. 8 Michigan still needs to win one more to punch a ticket to the Big Dance, and that means the Wolverines have to get past the No. 4 Purdue Boilermakers in the opener of today's proceedings.

CBS Sports will televise the 1 PM (ET) tip that saw Purdue go out at -6 on the opening NCAA basketball odds. That spread has since ballooned to 7½ at 5Dimes where we're finding 143 for the total.

Yes, Michigan (22-11 straight up, 16-15 against the spread) has done all required to reach the semifinals of the conference bracket. That doesn't mean the Wolverines have necessarily been playing great basketball, however. They never could really shake free of Northwestern on Thursday, and essentially let the Indiana Hoosiers beat themselves Friday with costly turnovers and poor shooting from outside.

Purdue (25-7, 16-12 ATS) manhandled Illinois from the opening tip on Friday, beating the Fighting Illini on the glass and bewildering them with strong shooting from beyond the arc in the 89-58 rout. The victory was the fourth in a row for the Boilermakers, fourth cover in the last five and 5th-straight 'over' winner for college basketball bettors.

The teams split their regular season meetings, each winning at home, the totals also halving along the way. Maybe it's just wishful thinking after being beaten by the Wolverines twice, but I'm playing the Boilermakers in this one.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Purdue -7.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Spartans On 12-Game Run At Window
Once the Boilermakers get finished ending Michigan's run, the matchup that many probably feel is the de facto Big Ten Championship will take place (appx. 3:30 PM ET) when the No. 2 Michigan State Spartans take on the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins. Michigan State is giving up 7 at BetOnline, the total still to be released.

Maryland (25-7 SU, 14-15-2 ATS) used a big first half Friday to dispatch Nebraska in a high-scoring 97-86 contest. The Terrapins shot over 60% from the field and converted at nearly the same clip from 3-point range where Jake Layman sank 6-of-9 en route to a game-high 26 points.

Michigan State (27-5 SU, 22-9 ATS) used a big second half to destroy Ohio State, 81-54. Glass work and defense were the two biggest factors in the triumph, the 7th-straight for the Spartans and their 12th consecutive cover.

Tom Izzo's troops popped the Terps 74-65 at East Lansing back in late-January, and I'm looking for a similar outcome today with a play on MSU.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Michigan State -7
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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