NCAA Basketball Pick: Northwestern +16 over Michigan

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Michigan is ranked first in the polls and first in offensive efficiency, but the Wolverines not play at a fast pace and Northwestern plays even slower. Take the big points with the Wildcats.

The big underdog may have value Wednesday night vs. the number one team in the polls when the Northwestern Wildcats (12-9, 3-2 away) pay a visit to the Michigan Wolverines (19-1, 11-0 home) at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, MI at 6:30 ET in a game televised nationally on the Big Ten Network.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Northwestern as a huge road underdog for this contest with the current line at +16 with odds of -104.

Michigan secured its number one spot in the national polls with an easy 74-60 road win at Illinois on Sunday night. The Wolverines remain second on the Pomeroy Ratings overall behind the Florida Gators, but Michigan does lead the country in offensive efficiency.

The Wolverines simply do not miss many shots as they rank second in both effective field goal percentage and in two-point shooting, as well as 12th in three-point shooting. Those blistering percentages are the main reason for Michigan’s lofty offensive efficiency, because believe it or not, the Wolverines do not play at an especially fast pace.

In fact, one may say that they are downright slow, ranking 257th in the country with a tempo rating of 64.4 possessions per game. They have certainly made the most of those limited possessions though, as besides their great shooting, the Wolverines do not turn the ball over either, ranking third in the nation in offensive turnover percentage. The end result has been near perfection except for one three-point loss at Ohio State.

With that being said, because Michigan plays slow offensively and does not force turnovers defensively, ranking a mere 232nd in that department, some teams that play at an even slower pace than the Wolverines have been able to slow games down to a crawl to keep the final scores respectable. Ohio State did it in the Michigan  loss and both Nebraska and Purdue did it while limiting the Wolverines to 62 and 68 points respectively.
Ladies and gentlemen, may we introduce your Northwestern Wildcats!

Northwestern is another team that does not turn the ball over, ranking 28th in offensive turnover percentage, and more importantly it is ranked 314th with a tempo rating of only 62.5 possessions! When you combine that with Michigan’s inability to force turnovers, it becomes easy to envision the Wildcats milking the shot clock on every possession  to shorten this game as much as possible and give themselves the best chance at a monumental upset.

No we do not expect that upset to happen, but keep in mind that Nebraska and Purdue each lost by exactly 15 points to Michigan, and Northwestern is capable of slowing this game down even more than those two schools did.

Thus, look for an excruciatingly low scoring affair, making the large spread worth taking with Northwestern on Wednesday.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Northwestern +16 (-104)

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