Revenge Factor Makes Maryland Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Michigan

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, February 20, 2016 10:49 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 10:49 PM UTC

Our handicapping professional provides us with a thorough betting preview article on Sunday’s Michigan/Maryland game. Go inside to get a needed edge for your NCAA Basketball picks.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Maryland -9
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker


Wolverines Versus Terrapins In Sunday Big Ten Battle
Sixth ranked Maryland will host Michigan in a Big Ten battle on Sunday. The opening tip at the Xfinity Center in College Park is slated for 1:05 PM ET, and the game will be nationally televised by CBS. This will be the second meeting of the season between these teams. Michigan defeated Maryland on its home floor as a 2.5 point underdog by a score of 70-67 back on 1/12/2016. At the time of this writing (2/20/5:30 PM ET), there were no NCAA Basketball odds posted for this contest. My personal power ratings indicate that Maryland should be somewhere between an 8.0 to 10.0 point favorite. My estimated total would be around the 140.0 range.

Update: Maryland is now favored by 9 points on the NCAA Basketball odds board.


Player Status Update
Michigan’s 6’7 star guard Caris LeVert is extremely doubtful for Sunday due to a leg injury. LeVert is averaging 16.5 PPG, 5.3 RPG, and 4.9 APG. Unfortunately, Michigan has been accustomed to LeVert being out of the lineup this season. Levert returned to action last Saturday against Purdue for the first time since 12/30/2015. He lasted just 11:00 minutes in that contest, failed to score, and had 5 rebounds during a 5 point win. Michigan is 12-3 with LeVert in the lineup, and just 7-5 without him.

Starting center Diamond Stone was forced to sit out a one game suspension during Maryland’s stunning loss at Minnesota in their previous outing. He’ll be back on the floor on Sunday, and will be a much welcomed addition. The 6’11 pivot man is averaging 12.8 PPG and 5.4 RPG this season. Stone was Maryland’s best player by in the earlier loss at Michigan. He scored 22 points in that contest while also hauling down 11 rebounds.


On The Bubble
Michigan didn’t help their NCAA Tournament at-large hopes after sustaining a decisive 76-66 loss at Ohio State in their previous game. Despite a 19-8 overall record, including a 9-5 mark in Big Ten action, there’s still a wide belief that Michigan is no lock for the NCAA Tournament as of yet. A 76-66 loss at Ohio State in their previous game certainly didn’t help their cause. Michigan’s biggest flaw at the moment is their strength of schedule. The Wolverines have played just the 83rd toughest slate according to computer rankings, and have a mediocre at best RPI of 54. A win against #6 Maryland would assuredly be a huge boost in terms of their NCAA Tournament resume. In addition to Sunday’s game at Maryland, Michigan has three other remaining games. They’ll host both Northwestern (17-10) and Iowa (20-6). The other contest will be at red-hot Wisconsin who entered this weekend having won seven of its last eight. I firmly believe a 2-2 split in their final four contests will secure them a spot in “The Big Dance”. Anything less will open the door for other teams teetering on the fence, and may force them to win at least two conference tournament games in order to get in.


Redemption Time
Maryland doesn’t have the same NCAA Tournament issues that Michigan does. They enter Sunday with a sparkling 22-5 overall record, and are currently vying for a possible #2 regional seed. However, there’s certainly concern pertaining to its last two dreadful performances. They sustained a pair of upset losses at the hands of Wisconsin by 13 at home as an 8.5 point favorite. They followed that up with an embarrassing defeat at Minnesota as a 10.0 point chalk. The 70-57 loss against a Wisconsin team which came in on a six game win streak was one thing. The 68-63 setback at Minnesota was an outright embarrassment. That was a Gophers club that had lost 14 in a row, and was 0-13 during Big Ten play. As a result, Maryland went from the conference leader to being 1.0 game behind both Iowa and Indiana. On a positive note, four of Maryland’s five losses have come by 9 points or less. The Terrapins are a perfect 3-0 SU&ATS this season following a loss by 9 points or less.


Final Take and Pick
I believe that Maryland will be playing with a huge chip on their shoulder. They were humbled to the nth degree in its last two games, and will be playing with revenge stemming from that earlier loss at Michigan. I’m siding with the home favorite for one of my Sunday NCAA Basketball picks.

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