February 11, 2016 (1:25 PM ET)
There are 2 picks tonight.
1) Take Indiana at -3 spread against Iowa for 3% of the bankroll.
The Iowa Hawkeyes are one of the surprise teams this season and currently stand atop the Big 10 rankings. They have been playing extremely well on both sides of the ball and come into this contest having won 3 straight and 12 of their last 13 games. There are few teams in the nation who have been playing as well as the Hawkeyes; however we do believe that they are in for a letdown in this contest when they face the Indiana Hoosiers at Assembly Hall. The Indiana Hoosiers, although currently unranked, have quietly put together a very solid season themselves. They are 19-5 on the season and have gone an impressive 9-2 in conference play. They currently sit in third place behind both Maryland and their opponents tonight; the Iowa Hawkeyes and a win tonight will suddenly thrust them into a tie with Iowa atop the conference rankings.
Perception on the Hoosiers is likely skewed at the moment. Many have argued that the Hoosiers have faced a very weak schedule to this point in the season and they are coming off an incredibly poor performance on the road in an upset loss to Penn St. Indiana mange to shoot a season low 36.2 % from the field in that contest and at times in the second half, appeared to almost give up on the game. That performance has no doubt shed a negative light on Indiana, however this is a much better team than they showed in that contest. Indiana guard Yogi Ferrell leads the team in scoring (17.3 points per game) and assists (5.8 assists per game) while also averaging 4.1 rebounds. He was recently named one of 10 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, which is given annually to the best point guard in the nation and despite that accolade even he suffered a poor shooting night in which saw him go 1-for-6 from downtown and 3 of 12 from the field which fell well short of his season average. Given how well Farrell has played this season, we believe it is unlikely that he suffers two poor shooting performances in a row. Even championship teams suffer an “off night” at times during the season and we feel that was Indiana’s.
This game is also being played at Assembly Hall which gives the Hoosiers a decided advantage. This venue is extremely difficult to play in for the visiting team. The Hoosiers are a team that likes to play with pace and rhythm and when their shots are falling, they are an incredibly difficult team to beat as evidenced by their perfect 14-0 record at home this season. They have shown their ability to drain shots at a high clip and it seems that when the crowd gets behind them at Assembly Hall, they simply don’t miss. They have broken shooting record after shooting record in this venue and now looking for a bounce back performance against the number 1 team in the conference, we expect them to be back at full form. The Hoosiers have also had quite a bit of success against the Hawkeyes ion recent meetings having won 4 of the last 6 in this series.
This is an important matchup for both teams; however Indiana plays at a different level at Assembly Hall. We expect them to bounce back from their poor performance against Penn State and come away with an impressive win and cover in this contest.
2) Take California at PK against Oregon for 3% of the bankroll.
This is yet another matchup where we believe that recent results have somewhat skewed the perception of both of these this season. The Oregon Ducks come into this contest on a 6 game winning streak after recently defeating the Utah Utes at home in their last contest. The Ducks currently hold a 1.5 game lead in the PAC-12 conference standings; however we believe they will be greatly tested not only in this contest, but the rest of the season as they will be playing four of their remaining seven games on the road. Oregon is just 3-2 in conference road game this season with both of their losses coming against unranked opponents.
Cal hasn't exactly been playing great basketball recently, having dropped five of their last seven contests; however they are coming off a confidence building victory over Stanford. We feel that the momentum that they build in that contest should carry over into this extremely important game with the Ducks. The Cal players should have no issues getting motivated to take on the top ranked team in the conference and should have a distinct advantage at home. Cal is a perfect 14-0 on their home floor this season and has already notched some resume building wins over ranked opponents which include victories over then-No.12 Arizona and then-No.21 Utah. You can bet that they would love to add the Ducks to their list of upsets over ranked teams.
As well as the Oregon Ducks have been playing on the offensive end this season, Cal should hold a distinct advantage on the glass in this contest. They are one of the better rebounding teams in the country, ranking 52nd in rebounding, securing an average of nearly 40 boards per game on the season. These two teams also met earlier this season and the Bears gave Oregon all they could handle out in Eugene, before falling by just a single basket which makes this a revenge game for the Cal players as well. They have shown their ability to elevate their play when in front of their home crowd as evidenced by their undefeated record in this venue. Cal has already proven that they can contain the Ducks offense on the road and should have even more success now that they are at home. Cal has had quite a bit of success in recent meetings with the Ducks. Although Oregon has won two straight in the series, Cal had managed to win the previous 12 meetings in the series. In what should be a closely contested matchup, we expect Cal to get back on track tonight and stay undefeated on their home court.
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