NCAA Basketball Picks: Big Ten Showdown to Go 'Under' in Iowa vs. Michigan

Jeff Grant

Thursday, February 5, 2015 2:05 PM GMT

Both Iowa and Michigan will struggle to get free points at the line Thursday night, which makes the ‘Under’ a top college basketball pick at the Crisler Center.

Slipping Away
Iowa needs to put an end to its current three-game losing streak if it plans on making the 2015 NCAA Tournament, which can’t be ignored when looking over the NCAA basketball odds, as it dropped a 74-63 decision to the Wisconsin Badgers as 5.5-point home underdogs last Saturday.

The Hawkeyes were thrilled that leading scorer Aaron White was able to quickly recover from a shoulder stinger suffered on Jan. 24, as he contributed 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the Badgers.

It’s important that the team receives a major contribution from the center position in this matchup, as Gabriel Olaseni and Adam Woodbury are combining to average 15.5 points and 10.8 rebounds.

Since the start of the 2012-13 campaign, the Hawkeyes are 1-4 SUATS as road underdogs of three or fewer points, with the UNDER going 3-2 in that situation.

 

Inconsistent
Michigan has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, which is important to consider when making your college basketball picks, as it looks to bounce back from a 76-66 overtime loss to the Michigan State Spartans as 11.5-point road underdogs Sunday.

Without Caris Levert and Derrick Walton Jr. in the lineup, the Wolverines have lost a third of their offensive production, 46 percent of their assists and 25 percent of their rebounding.

Guard Spike Albrecht stepped up in a big way last time out, as he scored a career-high 18 points in playing a career-best 37 minutes.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the school is 5-3 SUATS as home favorites of three or fewer points.

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Charity Work
Both the Hawkeyes and Wolverines do a tremendous job of defending without fouling, as they rank 20th and 26th respectively in not sending opponents to the free throw line.

On the other side of the ball, Iowa relies heavily on this statistical category, as it has made more shots (354) from the charity stripe than its opponents have attempted (344).

 

Series History
The Wolverines have captured 11 of the last 14 meetings in this Big Ten Conference rivalry, while they’ve gone 10-4 SU overall when playing at home this season, including a 4-1 mark in league play.

Roughly 41 percent of Michigan’s offense comes behind the arc, but it may be difficult to find success from that area Thursday, as Iowa ranks 90th in the country in three point field goal percentage defense.

 

Prediction
I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NCAA basketball picks, as the UNDER is 6-2 in the Wolverines’ last eight opportunities when playing at home.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Under 122.5 at 5Dimes