Michigan at Indiana Picks and NCAA Basketball Odds
by Robert Ferringo - 2/2/2013
Indiana was able to steal a win from Kentucky last year in the biggest and best regular season game in college basketball last year. On Saturday they will try to repeat that feat as they once again host the top team in the country in a marquee college hoops situations.
No. 1 Michigan will take on No. 3 Indiana at 9 p.m. on Saturday in Bloomington. This is the third matchup in college basketball featuring two teams ranked in the Top 5, and it is one of the biggest games of the season. The game will be featured on ESPN.
Despite being the top team in the country, Michigan is actually a solid underdog in this game. Indiana, which opened the regular season as the top team in the country, will do everything it can to wrestle the No. 1 spot away from the visitors.
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Here is a breakdown of one of this weekend’s top matchups:
Michigan at Indiana Betting Story Lines
This week a lot of media outlets played up the fact that No. 1 Michigan is atop the college basketball rankings for the first time in 20 years. However, the Wolverines are going to have to overcome a lot more history than that if they want to leave Indiana with a win.
According to ESPN, the Wolverines haven’t beaten a Top 5 team on the road since 1964. And Michigan hasn’t won at Assembly Hall in 1995, dropping 13 of their last 14 road games to Indiana.
The Hoosiers already have one home loss this year, a 64-59 dud to Wisconsin on Jan. 15. Indiana has won four straight since then, including a solid home win against Michigan State last Sunday, and they are looking for their 20th victory of the season.
Indiana has a size advantage in this game with seven-foot center Cody Zeller doing most of the damage on the interior. Zeller is one of the top post players in the nation and pairs with versatile forward Christian Watford. That duo combines to average 29 points and 14.7 rebounds per game and will be a key to beating the Wolverines.
But what really separates Indiana is its shooting ability. The Hoosiers are No. 1 in the country in scoring, No. 5 in field goal percentage and No. 3 in three-point shooting. Indiana has a stunning four players making more than 47 percent of their three-pointers, and this team can turn people’s lights out quickly.
Victor Oladipo, a silky guard, is their best perimeter player on both ends of the floor. Freshman point guard Yogi Ferrell, senior shooter Jordan Hulls, and glue guy Will Sheehey are three of the other key spot-up players for the Hoosiers.
If Indiana has a weakness, it is that they can get allergic to defense. And they aren’t overly physical. This group struggled with a mediocre Georgetown team’s athleticism, and a more physical Butler team pushed them around.
Michigan isn’t known for its overall strength. But the Wolverines are definitely athletic, with NBA legacy players Glenn Robinson, Tim Hardaway and Jon Horford doing a lot of damage for the Wolverines.
But Michigan’s strength is in its backcourt. Trey Burke is one of the best players in the country and is an ultra-efficient point guard. Hardaway provides pop at the two-guard, and the duo averages 33.4 points and 10 assists per game.
Michigan’s X-Factors come in the form of freshmen Nik Stauskas and Mitch McGary. Stauskas is hitting nearly 50 percent of his three-pointers and has been a revelation on the wing. McGary is the fulcrum of the interior game and at 6-foot-10, 250 lbs., is Michigan’s biggest post player.
Indiana has advantages with its experience, on the interior, and with the home court. But John Beilein teams are always amazing as underdogs. Michigan runs a quirky offensive system, and they execute like no other team in the country.
I think that one of the keys to the game is the matchup between Stauskas and Hulls. Whomever players better between those two will give their team a big advantage. I think that Oladipo will be able to negate Hardaway (and I can see Oladipo guarding Burke late in the game). The role players – ultra-athletic Glenn Robinson vs. Sheehey, Ferrell, et. al. – will also cancel one another out.
So this game is going to be determined by the superstars (Burke’s performance vs. Watford and Zeller’s contributions) as well as the top marksmen for each team. In a game featuring two of the best shooting teams in the nation, the team that performs better from deep will have the edge.
Michigan at Indiana NCAA Basketball Betting Odds and Key Trends
The spread opened with Indiana as a five-point favorite but was instantly bet down to 4.5. No total was available at time of publication, but I can project that the line will be around 149.5.
This series has been all Indiana in recent years. The Hoosiers are 13-5 against the spread in the last 18 meetings, and they are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games against the Wolverines. The home team is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
However, the Wolverines have been the best bet in college basketball over the last two years. Michigan is 43-20-2 ATS in its last 65 games, and they are an astounding 29-11-1 ATS in their last 41 games against the Big Ten. Michigan is 19-7-1 ATS in its last 27 road games, and they are a stellar 38-16-1 ATS against teams with a winning percentage over .600.
Michigan at Indiana Picks and Betting Predictions
I am going to look at the total in this game. I actually am leaning against the public here and thinking that this game might stay “under”. I understand that Michigan is lethal offensively and Indiana just wants to get out and run-and-gun. But I don’t know that this game is going to be played in the high 70s, low 80s, and I think that’s where this total is going to come out, with maybe an open around 149.5 and then the game being bet up into the mid-150s.
The public is going to be all in on the “over” in this game. But being pretty familiar with Beilein’s style, I won’t be surprised at all if the Wolverines try to take the air out of the ball a bit. They aren’t going to go into a stall or anything. But I think Michigan understands that it is vulnerable on the interior and will want to limit Indiana’s run-out opportunities. Also, Michigan will need to take the crowd out of the game a little bit, and there is no better way to do that then by milking the clock and running tight sets. That said, if the total is sagging in the low-to-mid 140s, then it might open up a strong play on the over.
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