#9 Michigan State (22-6, 11-4) at #4 Michigan (23-5, 10-5)
The Spartans are catching the Wolverines at the right time as Michigan suffered an 84-78 loss to the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday. This was Penn State’s 1st win in the conference all season and to one of the best teams in the Big-Ten. From a Michigan perspective, you can’t lose to a team like that under any circumstances, especially this late in the season. Let's have a look at today's NCAAB picks.
Even though they’re 2nd in the conference, Michigan State has suffered consecutive losses to Indiana and Ohio State. Michigan State’s chances for the conference lead seems remote, but this game is a major opportunity for both teams to regain their confidence as the Big-Ten Conference tournament and NCAA Tournament are right around the corner.
Michigan State will have a tough time on defense from preventing sharpshooter, Trey Burke, from getting his points and enhancing Michigan’s chances of winning at home. Burke is coming off of the Penn State loss in which he had 18 points, but committed 6 turnovers. Turnovers will kill any team and I expect an intelligent player like Trey Burke to be aware of that. Look for Burke to bounce back in a high pressure situation.
Two Mountains To Climb
Not only does Michigan need to recover from their embarrassing loss to Penn State, but they need to avenge a loss on February 12th in which they lost to the Spartans, 75-52. Michigan State had the lead throughout the game and led by as many as 31 points
The Spartans have their own problems .Michigan State leading scorer, Keith Appling, is averaging just 4.5 points on 2 of 14 from the field in his last 2 games.
This is game in which both teams are entering with their confidence shaken. This game is similar to Duke’s win over Miami (FL) yesterday. Either the Wolverines come out fighting, trying to avenge an embarrassing loss earlier in the season or they fold under pressure.
Michigan is a 4.5 point betting favorite and the total is 132.5. Look for Michigan to come flying out of the gate at home. Their pride has taken a beating lately and with guys like Burke, Hardaway Jr. and Robinson III, this is a ball club that has too much talent to succumb to the pressure now.
NCAAB Picks: Michigan -4.5 at 5 Dimes
North Carolina State (20-8, 9-6) at Georgia Tech (15-12, 5-10)
This has been somewhat of a disappointing season for a Wolfpack team who was thought to be the 2nd best team in the conference, but instead resides in the 5th spot. Except for an early season defeat of Duke, N.C. State hasn’t been able to beat the better teams in the nation. This game is about positioning for the ACC Tournament and the NCAA Tournament.
Coming Off the “W”
Luckily for the Wolfpack, they play a team that they’ve beaten before in Georgia Tech, but the Yellow Jackets are coming off of a strong performance in a win over a good Maryland team, 78-68. Georgia Tech outrebounded the 3rd best rebounding team in the country and hot shooting by Robert Carter and Brandon Reed were able to propel the Yellow Jackets over the Terrapins for the “W”.
Georgia Tech knows that their chances of making the NCAA Tournament are near impossible. They would have to basically run the table or win out and at least get to the ACC Championship game, but they have to feel good after their most recent win. A victory over North Carolina State would keep the Yellow Jacket’s season alive.
For N.C. State, both Richard Howell and C.J. Leslie have played poorly in their last 2 games. Howell will always get the rebounds but the shooting has been off. This is a big game for N.C. State on the road; Georgia Tech aren’t pushovers.
North Carolina State is a 4 point betting odds favorite and the total for this game is 136.5. I happen to like the Yellow Jackets in this spot. N.C. State is reeling a bit and after a very good win over Maryland, Georgia Tech will give the Wolfpack a run for their money at home as they attempt to stay alive.
NCAAB Picks: Georgia Tech +4 at 5 Dimes[gameodds]14/222870/43/us[/gameodds]