NCAA Basketball Picks: Michigan vs. Northwestern

Joe Freda

Thursday, January 3, 2013 4:30 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 3, 2013 4:30 PM UTC

The No. 2 Michigan Wolverines edged out the Northwestern Wildcats in a pair of overtime affairs last winter, while the foes split ATS at the basketball betting windows. Which way should we lean with our NCAAB picks tonight?

Thursday’s college hoops slate has the rivals clashing for the first time since then, with both opening Big Ten Conference play.


Wolverines, Burke hold off Chippewas

Michigan stayed unbeaten with its 13th straight win in Saturday’s 88-73 victory over the Central Michigan Chippewas, while falling short of collecting as a 26-point home favorite. The Wolverines shot 51.5 percent from the floor, while being outrebounded, 37-28. 

Wolverines guard Trey Burke notched team-highs of 22 points and 11 assists, finishing with his first double-double in seven games. Burke united with mate Nik Stauskas to drain 9-of-15 buckets from three-point land, with Stauskas adding seven boards.

The contest’s combined 161 points soared above the ‘total’ of 138 ½, lifting the OVER to 6-2 in the Wolverines’ last eight games. Michigan’s Jordan Morgan logged two of his side’s four steals, while Mitch McGary recorded a pair of blocks.

Wildcats, Sobolewski roar past Brown 

Northwestern has been out of action since Dec. 23, when it picked up a 63-42 victory as 13 ½-point home ‘chalk’ against the Brown Bears. The Wildcats drilled 13-of-24 shots beyond the arc, while holding Brown to 30.6 percent field shooting.

Wildcats guard Dave Sobolewski logged 14 points and eight assists, playing a team-high 33 minutes. Northwestern’s Kale Abrahamson and Alex Marcotullio grabbed five boards each, while uniting for 18 points. 

Northwestern sparsely reached the foul line, connecting 4-of-5 free throws. Wildcats forward Mike Turner registered a season-high three blocks off the bench, while hitting 2-of-2 field buckets for four points. 

Back Northwestern at home

The NCAA Basketball odds makers at opened Michigan as a 10 ½-point road favorite, while first listing the ‘total’ at 128 ½. Early wagers on the Wolverines and OVER lifted the numbers to 11 and 129 ½, respectively. 

I am adding Northwestern to my night of NCAA basketball picks, taking the double digits in this home dog spot. 

Michigan failed to get the money in its sole road spot last month against the Bradley Bears, giving up 52 percent field shooting en route to getting by with a 74-66 win as 12-point ‘chalk.’  The Wolverines have gone 1-2 ATS in their last three visits to Evanston, needing a second-half rally and overtime to top the Wildcats for the span’s sole cashed ticket. 

Northwestern went 5-2 ATS in its first seven home dates of Big Ten Conference play last year, holding Illinois and Penn State to 56.5 PPG in the stretch’s initial two affairs. The Wildcats find themselves right behind Michigan in the Big Ten’s three-point shooting, ranked third with a mark of 38.6 percent. 

Northwestern will be without top scorer Reggie Hearn (14.5 PPG), who missed the team’s matchup against Brown with an ankle injury. Look for his mates to fill the void again here, notching just enough points to get the money.

NCAA Basketball Pick:  Northwestern Wildcats +11 (
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