NCAAB Weekend Preview - Spartans-Wolverines Battle for Big Ten Supremacy

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D.S. Williamson

February 22nd, 2019

This weekend’s top matchup happens on Sunday. Can Tom Izzo’s Michigan State Spartans take down rival Michigan and reassert itself as the best in the Big Ten? Check out analysis and a pick for that game as well as all the other great NCAAB action this weekend!

Check back on Saturday and Sunday morning in our New Jersey sportsbook for up-to-date odds on the games!

[Saturday, Feb 23]

#3 Virginia Cavaliers at #22 Louisville Cardinals (12:00pm ET)

North Carolina dominated Duke on Wednesday night. The Tar Heels so thoroughly spanked the Blue Devils that the door’s open for Virginia to possibly reclaim the top ranking in the nation should they beat the Louisville Cardinals on the road on Saturday.

This is the first time Virginia’s facing Louisville this season. The last matchup isn’t worth mentioning. What is worth mentioning is how Virginia continues to dominate teams by only allowing 54.6 points per. UVA’s strategy is to keep opponents from connecting on threes. They hold their adversaries to 25.8% from three.

The Cavaliers shoot 40.1% from three. Virginia’s style could hurt Louisville because the Cardinals rely heavily on the three point shot. If Louisville tries to change some things, Virginia will have the answer.

On Wednesday night, the Cardinals had no answer for Syracuse’s zone defense. They might have a tougher time against UVA’s Pack Line Defense, which denies the fast break, denies dribble penetration, and denies offensive rebounds. The Cavaliers should roll to an easy win and hold strong value as a road favorite.

NCAAB Free Pick: Virginia ATS

#5 Tennessee Volunteers at #15 LSU Tigers (12:00pm ET)

Tennessee looks to reclaim its title as one of the top four teams in the nation when it battles LSU in Baton Rouge on Saturday. The Volunteers bounced back after losing to Kentucky last weekend with a 58-46 victory over Vanderbilt. Although the Vols won, they didn’t cover.

LSU didn’t cover in their last game, either. As a -7 home favorite more was expected from the Tigers than losing 77-82 to Florida in overtime. The Tigers tend to play better on the road sine they’re 6-8 ATS at home and 6-2 ATS on the road, but could show up big versus the Volunteers in what certainly amounts to a must-win situation.

LSU is 5-3 ATS in their last 8 while Tennessee is 1-4 ATS in their last 5, and 0-3 ATS in their last 3. Backing the Tigers to cover.


#17 Florida State Seminoles at #9 North Carolina Tar Heels (3:45pm ET)

No way North Carolina’s not over played in this after their 88-72 victory over the Duke Blue Devils as a +10 dog on Wednesday night. The Heels looked great, but we must place an asterisk next to the win. Duke lost star Zion Williamson 33 seconds into the game. Luke Maye wouldn’t have gone for 30 points, 15 boards, and 2 assists with Zion on him.

Florida State’s been on their own tear, going 7-1 ATS and 8-0 SU in their last 8 games. The Heels are 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games, but they’re only 6-5-2 ATS at home. The Seminoles are playing their best basketball of the season and have a legit shot on the moneyline facing a team coming off their biggest win of the year, but why not take the point cushion? Standard letdown situation here for UNC at home against a surging FSU squad.

NCAAB Free Pick: Florida State ATS

#1 Duke Blue Devils at Syracuse Orange (6:00pm ET)

Zion’s status is up in the air after the injury against the Heels. We’re going to have to wait until Saturday for the BetAmerica oddsmakers to set the line on this one. The wait might be worth it. Even though Syracuse upset Duke in the first game between these two, the Blue Devils, with or without Williamson, should be favored in the rematch.

Syracuse, though, really ratcheted things up against Louisville. The 20-point victory over the Cardinals is a sign the Orange are peaking. There might be some truly unfortunate off-court distractions for the Orange with coach Jim Boeheim, but the much beloved coach will be a rallying point. Syracuse will draw every emotion necessary, while Duke plays it safe with Zion and rests him while RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish prove that they need the big man underneath the rim to have any hope of winning against top teams.

NCAAB Free Pick: Syracuse moneyline

#12 Kansas Jayhawks at #14 Texas Tech Red Raiders (8:00pm ET)

With the SEC, the ACC, and the Big Ten dominating the headlines, Big 12 powerhouse squads like Kansas and Texas Tech have gone under the radar. Bill Self’s Jayhawks squad is no joke, but they're certainly not the main event player they usually are at this point int he season.

KU is again on the winning path after back-to-back losses to Kentucky and Texas. They dominated the Red Raiders 79-63 in the first matchup and have gone 4-1 SU and ATS in their last 5.

But, the Red Raiders have been just as hot. Texas Tech’s 4-0 ATS in their last 4, and 4-1 ATS in their last 5. The only loss was to Kansas on the road. The Red Raiders have a great chance of turning the tables on their rivals.

NCAAB Free Pick: Texas Tech ATS

[Sunday, Feb. 24]

#11 Michigan State Spartans at #7 Michigan Wolverines (3:45pm ET)

The weekend’s top matchup has Michigan hosting Michigan State. At 23-3, Michigan believes with a few more quality wins, and a Big Ten Tournament victory, they can nail down a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Michigan State’s not without a chance at a 1-seed, either. There’s enough time left in the regular season. Plus, there’s the conference tournament where Izzo’s squad usually steps it up.

In this game, both teams should play hard. However, the home team’s showed more softness in recent games than Michigan State has. The Wolverines lost a couple straight up that they shouldn’t have: 59-74 at Iowa on Feb. 1, and 69-75 at Penn State as a -7.5 favorite.

After 3 straight losses, the Spartans have been on fire, going 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS. The only team to touch 60 points against Michigan State was Rutgers in MSU’s 71-60 victory on Wednesday night. That’s also MSU’s only non-cover in their last 4. The Spartans are playing like the best team in the Big Ten. They deserve backing on the moneyline to upset the Michigan Wolverines on Feb. 24.

NCAAB Free Pick: Michigan State ML