Merry Christmas and welcome on back #ReagsReaders. Nothing like a little 4-game Big 10 slate to wet the beak on Christmas. Gotta admit I'm a huge fan of having a few good college basketball games today. Nothing like some multiple screen hoops action, fully making this a basketball holiday. Not gonna lie, also love putting the best game first. Get right into it. Anywho, let's start talking about the games.
Just a reminder every single one of these lines comes from the glorious Barstool Sportsbook. Make sure you download the app here.
Today's Schedule (reminder that games could still get canceled)
Game is at noon at Michigan State
Wisconsin (7-1, 3-4-1, 5-3 on the over)
Key Player: Micah Potter (13.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Michigan State (6-1, 2-5 ATS, 4-3 on the over)
Key Player: Aaron Henry (12.0 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 4.9 apg)
Pick: Wisconsin +2
Reasoning: Big news as Joey Hauser did practice and is expected to play after a knee injury, but the question remains how close to 100% is he. He's just so important to what MSU wants to do with the spread out offense, stretching the floor and versatility. If he can't go as normal, then you're relying way more on Malik Hall and Julius Marble. But this is just me liking the Wisconsin team more. Their guards are shooting the ball well, shit the entire team is ranking 9th in the country in 3pt percentage. Not only that but the ability for Micah Potter and Nate Reuvers to stretch both offensive and defensively takes away the Joey Hauser advantage. There's a reason Wisconsin is 3rd defensively nationally. I just trust this team more than MSU right now.
Game is 2:30 at Purdue
Maryland (5-2, 3-4 ATS, 4-2-1 on the over)
Key Player: Eric Ayala (14.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Purdue (6-3, 3-6 ATS, 5-4 on the over)
Key Player: Trevion Williams (13.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg)
Pick: Maryland +5.5
Reasoning: Both of these teams are pretty similar so I'm not sure why the line is this high. Purdue really struggles defending inside the 3pt line while Maryland can't defend the 3pt line. Maryland has been better at taking care of the ball and that's something I like to look at when you're looking at similar teams. We know Purdue likes to play inside-out, trying to get Trevion Williams going early and then opening up shots for Stefanovic and Newman. Maryland can actually play those post guys straight up without having to do more than a quick dig.
Game is at 6pm at Nebraska
Michigan (6-0, 4-2 ATS, 4-2 on the over)
Key Player: Isaiah Livers (15.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg)
Nebraska (4-4, 3-4 ATS, 3-4 on the over)
Key Player: Teddy Allen (17.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
Pick: Under 148
Reasoning: How can I put it mildly? This Nebraska team, they aren't, they aren't what you would call good. But they can score. They have some versatile wings like Teddy Allen and Trey McGowans that can get going. They rely on launching threes and getting to the free throw line. Michigan has a top-10 defense nationally and while they don't play fast, they are starting to adapt a more NBA style offense under Juwan Howard. You're seeing them play through Hunter Dickinson and letting their guards operate. We should get free points on the offensive glass from Michigan and it just comes down to Nebraska hitting enough threes. Michigan is below average defensively there so there's a fear. But the tempo and the fact Michigan doesn't turn the ball over much helps us here.
Game is at 8pm at Minnesota
Iowa (7-1, 6-2 ATS, 7-1 on the over)
Key Player: Luka Garza (28.4 ppg, 9.1 rpg)
Minnesota (7-1, 3-5 ATS, 6-2 on the over)
Key Player: Marcus Carr (23.9 ppg, 6.0 apg)
Pick: Over 164.5
Reasoning: How the hell can we not take an over 164.5? Both teams are crushing overs this year and we're cheering for points while drinking our bottles of wine late here. This is all about tempo. Both teams are in the top-30 nationally in adjusted tempo. We're going to have our chances for the points. The question is how Minnesota defends Garza. They'll probably start straight up with Liam Robbins on him. However, if Garza goes to work early, you're going to have to send a double or a hard dig and that leaves the kick out open that Garza has gotten MUCH better at. Also, Iowa should score on nearly possession because Minnesota sucks at defensive rebounding. Also, we know about Iowa's defense. It's not great. Marcus Carr should have a field day in high ball screens and breaking them down. Even if they run that 2-3 zone, Minnesota shouldn't have a problem getting to the middle there, especially the way Iowa runs it by bringing Garza out to rotate on wings.
Merry Christmas everyone. Enjoy the hoops.
80-85-2 overall, 32-31-1 on favorites, 25-24 on underdogs, 16-23-1 on the over, 7-7 on the under
Under 148 Michigan/Nebraska
Over 164.5 Iowa/Minnesota