Now that the college football season is officially over, most bettors really turn their focus to college basketball. I can promise you one thing: there won't be an Alabama-Clemson rematch in this year's basketball National Championship Game in Phoenix. The Crimson Tide haven't made the Big Dance since 2012 or won a game in it since 2006. Coach Avery Johnson has the program on the right track, but it's not likely to be an NCAA Tournament team this year. Ditto Clemson, which hasn't made the tournament since 2011. The Tigers definitely have sporting bragging rights now, however, as they also beat the Tide in basketball on Dec. 18 in Birmingham.
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No. 24 Minnesota at Michigan State ( -2 )
Tips at 7 p.m. ET on the Big Ten Network. Minnesota joined the AP Top 25 on Monday, the first time the program has been ranked since February 2013, Tubby Smith's final season. Pretty nice coaching job there for Richard Pitino considering Minnesota was 8-23 last year and had a bunch of players get into trouble off the court. But: "Rankings mean absolutely, 1,000 percent nothing to me," Pitino said Monday. The Gophers come off a 78-68 win over Ohio State. Amir Coffey had 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting. It was only Minnesota's second win in the past 12 in the series. Coffey was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. In Minnesota's four Big Ten games, Coffey is averaging 15.2 points on 51.2 percent shooting. He's the No. 2 freshman scorer in the conference.
Michigan State's four-game winning streak ended in a 72-63 loss at Penn State in Philadelphia on Saturday. The Spartans led just once, 27 seconds into the game, and trailed by as many as 14 in the first half. Penn State shot 60 percent in the opening half against an MSU defense that entered the game holding its first three Big Ten opponents to a league-low 38.6 percent. The Spartans were also outrebounded, and winning on the boards is their calling card. "We just did not feel we came out ready to play," Coach Tom Izzo said. "And that is my responsibility. Blame me for that. And I'm gonna fix it." Sparty goes for the season sweep here as it won at Minnesota 75-74 in OT on Dec. 27 to open conference play. Minnesota led by 13 at halftime.
Key trends: The Gophers are 3-10 against the spread in their past 13 Wednesday games. MSU is 15-3 ATS in its past 18 vs. the Big Ten. The home team is 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings.
I'm leaning: MSU.
Pittsburgh at No. 14 Louisville (-13)
ACC game at 7 p.m. ET with no national TV (WatchESPN). Pitt upset No. 11 Virginia last Wednesday but then lost 77-66 at unranked Syracuse on Saturday. The Orange held the Panthers to a season-low 21 points in the opening half of play and led by as many as 28 points at the three-minute mark. Pitt allowed a season-high shooting percentages in field goals (28-for-54) and 3-pointers (14-for-27). Jamel Artis finished with 23 points to lead the Panthers, who never got closer than 15 until the final three minutes. Michael Young, who entered the game leading the ACC in scoring at 22.7 ppg, finished with 17 points on 6-for-15 shooting. Artis (19) and Young (15) combined for 34 points in the second half.
Could be a look-ahead game for Louisville as it hosts No. 7 Duke on Saturday. The Cardinals are off a 65-50 win at Georgia Tech on Saturday. Donovan Mitchell scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half. However, sophomore forward Deng Adel suffered a concussion -- yet is expected to play Wednesday. The Aussie is averaging 10.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Adel, a sophomore, took a hard spill after a layup try in the first half. Coach Rick Pitino said Adel and freshman V.J. King's playing time will likely stay the same. Adel averages 27.9 minutes per game, while King plays 13.8 minutes per game off the bench. It's the third concussion suffered by a U of L player this season. Louisville has an 12-5 series advantage over Pittsburgh and the Cardinals have won the last eight matchups.
Key trends: Pitt is 2-6 ATS in its past eight on the road. Louisville is 4-1 ATS in its past five at home. The Panthers are 0-4 ATS in the past four meetings.
I'm leaning: Louisville.
No. 12 Butler at No. 8 Creighton (-2)
This Big East showdown is the only matchup of ranked teams on Wednesday. It tips off at 9 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. If I'm Butler's players, I'm terrified to fly to Omaha. Last month, the plane the team was on made an emergency landing in Pittsburgh after playing at St. John's. On Saturday, the team's plane had mechanical issues and it flew home Sunday instead of Saturday after playing Georgetown. Butler beat the Hoyas 85-76 in overtime despite only shooting 39 percent from the field. Thirteen of Butler's 17 points in the extra session came at the free throw line as Georgetown went 3-for-11 from the field in the OT.
Creighton's ranking is the highest in school history in the AP Top 25. The Bluejays' previous best ranking was No. 9, which they most recently earned on Dec. 19, 2016. Creighton won at Providence 78-64 on Saturday. The Friars missed seven straight shots during a field goal drought that spanned 7:06 in the second half as the Bluejays' lead grew as big as 19 before PC scored the game's final five points. Justin Patton had 20 points and tied his career-high with three blocks for the Bluejays. Creighton, always one of the country's best offensive teams, shot 55.9 percent for the game. Creighton has now won a Big East road game against every current league foe except Georgetown (0-3).
Key trends: Butler is 14-3-1 ATS in its past 18 vs. teams with a winning record. Creighton is 10-4 ATS in its past 14 at home. The home team is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings.
I'm leaning: Butler.
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