Crushing news for NCAA Tournament bubble team Michigan State as it has lost starting shooting guard Eron Harris for the season to knee surgery. In Saturday's loss at Purdue when he drove the baseline for a layup, Harris landed awkwardly and eventually was taken from the court on a stretcher. The senior, who transferred after two seasons at West Virginia, was averaging 10.7 points per game and led the team in 3-point shooting with 43 makes from beyond the arc. Sparty is really thin as it is with forwards Gavin Schilling and Ben Carter both missing the entire season with knee injuries. MSU has made the Big Dance for 19 straight seasons, but that's in definite jeopardy.
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South Carolina at No. 13 Florida ( -10 )
SEC game at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Gators are tied atop the SEC with Kentucky, and South Carolina is two games back. UF plays at Kentucky on Saturday. Florida is on an eight-game winning streak - its longest since winning 30 in a row in 2013-14 on the way to the Final Four -- after winning 57-52 at Mississippi State this past Saturday. Graduate transfer Canyon Barry, the son of Hall of Famer Rick Barry, left the game after twisting his ankle and it looked pretty bad at the time. But he apparently is OK and should play here. Barry had seven points in 22 minutes. Guy almost never misses a free throw and shoots underhanded like his pops did. Florida's 57 points were was its second-fewest of the season. The Gators had more points in the second half alone last Tuesday at Auburn (64).
South Carolina has lost two straight and three of four. It was beaten at Vanderbilt 71-62 on Saturday. The SEC's top-ranked team from 3-point range struggled against the country's No. 1 3-point defense. USC was just 1-for-9 from long range. Star Sindarius Thornwell finished with 21 points, but South Carolina's bench, a weak spot all year, struggled again with only five points. South Carolina beat Florida 57-53 on Jan. 18. Thornwell scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half. USC came out of the break on a 14-2 run and held on. Florida's leading scorer, KeVaughn Allen, had one point. Florida went 0 of 17 from 3-point range, ending a streak of 850 consecutive games with a long-range basket that was the longest in the NCAA.
Key trends: The Gamecocks are 0-5 against the spread in their past five. The Gators are 5-2 ATS in their past seven. USC is 10-1 ATS in its past 11 at Florida.
I'm leaning: South Carolina.
Milwaukee at Valparaiso (-15)
Horizon League game at 8 p.m. ET with no national TV (streamed on ESPN3). I would not want to draw Valparaiso in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. ESPN has the Crusaders as a No. 14 seed and opening against Kentucky. Cats fans better hope that's not the case. Valpo leads the Horizon by a game over Oakland, and this is the team's home finale. It has one of the best big men in college basketball in Alec Peters, who probably will be Horizon League Player of the Year. The 6-foot-9 senior averages 23.1 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. In Sunday's win at Detroit, Peters had 20 points. He's the school's all-time scoring leader and there are currently only two players from Indiana D-I schools who finished their careers with more points and rebounds than Peters has amassed to date. Guy named Larry Bird (Indiana State) and Luke Harangody (Notre Dame). With Sunday's victory, the Crusaders improved to 17-0 in the last three seasons in games following a loss.
Milwaukee is just playing to stay out of the Horizon League basement. It has lost six straight following an 80-56 home wipeout vs. Green Bay on Saturday. The Panthers' best player is sophomore guard Brock Stull, who averages 12.7 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He had 17 rebounds in a game earlier this season, one shy of the school record and darn impressive for a guard. He also became the first-ever sophomore at the school with a 30-point game on Feb. 4 in a loss to UIC. Valpo won at Milwaukee 71-53 on Feb. 2. Peters scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half when Valparaiso opened with a 20-4 run.
Key trends: The Panthers are 1-4 ATS in their past five. The Crusaders are 7-2 ATS in their past nine on Tuesday. Milwaukee is 2-8-1 ATS in the past 11 meetings.
I'm leaning: Valparaiso.
Indiana at Iowa (pick'em)
Big Ten game at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. It's an absolute must-have game for Indiana, which is very much on the NCAA bubble at 15-12 overall and 5-9 in the Big Ten - the wrong side of the bubble right now. In ESPN's most recent bracketology update, the Hoosiers were among the "next four out" but that was before they lost 75-74 at Minnesota on Saturday, IU's fourth straight defeat. Somehow, Indiana allowed the Gophers' Akeem Springs to rebound his own missed 3-pointer with three seconds left, and he made a short baseline shot for the win. James Blackmon Jr. pulled up for a 3-point try at the buzzer that banged off the backboard. I don't see Tom Crean surviving this season. It's expected that IU will go after Dayton's Archie Miller just like NC State will (and Ohio State too if that opens).
Iowa (14-13, 6-8) probably only has a shot at the NIT. It dropped a third straight Saturday, 70-66 at home to a bad Illinois team. The Illini closed the game on a 10-4 run and became the only team this season to record a regular-season sweep over Iowa. Peter Jok led Iowa with 16 points with 10 rebounds. He moved past Ed Horton into 16th place on Iowa's all-time scoring list. Jok leads the Big Ten in scoring at 20.4 ppg. This is the only scheduled meeting between Iowa and Indiana. The Hoosiers won both last year, with the second victory clinching the Big Ten regular-season title.
Key trends: The Hoosiers are 3-8 ATS in their past 11 Tuesday games. The Hawkeyes are 6-16 ATS in their past 22 vs. the Big Ten. The underdog is 6-1 ATS in the past seven meetings.
I'm leaning: Indiana.
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Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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