February 16, 2016 (12:22 AM ET)
There are two picks tonight.
1: Take Michigan at PK against Ohio State for 3% of the bankroll.
This is an interesting matchup in the Big 10 between two teams that have very little love lost between them. The Ohio State / Michigan rivalry is well known in the world of college sports and adds yet another element of depth and motivation to this contest. The Wolverines have owned the recent series having won 4 of the last 5 meetings and we expect that trend to continue tonight.
Michigan is coming off an impressive home win over a highly ranked Purdue team in their last contest and are currently seated 4th in the conference and two games behind the Iowa Hawkeyes for the conference lead. Michigan is an extremely balanced team lead by veteran coach John Beilein. They rank 105th in the nation in scoring offense, putting up an average of 76.3 points per game on 48% shooting from the floor. The Wolverines are what could be considered a perimeter shooting team. They have no issues releasing from nearly anywhere on the floor and can be deadly accurate from long range. The Michigan sharpshooters average 10.3 three-pointers per contest and are hitting over 40% of their attempts which ranks 11th in the country. When the Michigan is in rhythm, they are an incredibly dangerous and difficult team to beat. Caris LeVert is the team’s leading scorer with 16.5 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He’s just returned after missing 11 games with a lower leg injury. With LeVert in the lineup this is a completely different Michigan team and one that we believe will cause problems for Ohio State.
As prolific as the Wolverines are on the offensive side of the ball, where they have really excelled this season has been on the defensive side where they are 48th in the nation in scoring defense, holding team to an average of just 66 points per game on 34.8% shooting from the field. Their defense should pose an issue tonight for an Ohio State team who has struggled on the offensive side of the ball this season. The Buckeyes are currently 8-5 in conference play this season which puts them in a tie for 6th place in the Big 10, three games behind the conference leading Hawkeyes. They are a below average offensive team, ranking 236th in the nation; however they are shooting a respectable 44% from the field. They have struggled from beyond the arc this season, connecting on just 34% of their shots from downtown. They are also a team that likes to get to the free throw line; however they have not made the most of their opportunities shooting just 65% from the charity stripe which could be a deciding factor tonight late in the game.
Both teams come into this contest having won two straight, however the Wolverines have a lot of momentum coming off a big win against a very good Purdue team. Even though they are on the road in this contest, we believe they are the better overall team. Their perimeter shooting should allow them to create separation on the scoreboard, while their defense stifles the inconsistent Buckeye’s offense enough to pick up a closely contested victory.
2: Take TCU at +5 spread (buy half a point) against Kansas State for 3% of the bankroll.
Both Kansas State and TCU are currently at the bottom of the Big 10 standings and while many may not see a ton of value backing either of these basement dwellers, we actually believe the opposite in that this is one of the matchups that have the most value on the entire basketball card. For all of their struggles this season, the TCU Horned Frogs actually have a fairly respectable record on their home court this season and hold notable wins over the likes of Texas, Tennessee and Oklahoma State. They have also shown their ability to playing in closely contested game in this venue suffering narrow losses to both then undefeated SMU & West Virginia. With TCU being able to somewhat elevate their game in front of their home crowd, we expect that they will be able to find success against another second-tiered opponent in Kansas State.
TCU is also coming off a completely embarrassing performance against the West Virginia Mountaineers. It was an incredibly sloppy offensive output by the Horned Frogs and resulted in their highest turnover and lowest scoring output contest of the season which resulted in a 32 point loss on the road. "Press Virginia" has been dominating opponents all season long so the loss by TCU was somewhat expected, however a beating like that is something that cannot sit well with any athlete. There is no question that these Horned Frog players will be looking to atone for that performance and put in a much more solid effort in this contest. They should have a much easier time navigating a porous Kansas State defense tonight.
The Horned Frogs have also been decent at time on the defensive end and have managed to hold 9 opponents to under 40% shooting from the floor. TCU is 8-1 this season when holding opponents to less than 40 percent shooting average, with its only such loss coming last weekend against the Mountaineers. Considering that Kansas State ranks second-to-last in the conference in field-goal accuracy (42.9 percent), including a Big 12-worst 28.8% success rate from 3-point range, we wouldn't be surprised to see the TCU defense step up once again and cause problems for a poor Wildcats offense.
The Wildcats also find themselves in a fairly difficult position tonight as they have a rematch with their in-state rivals, the Kansas Jayhawks on deck. Those two teams met back on Feb 3rd in a game that Kansas dominated. There is no question that K-State will be looking for revenge in that contest and it wouldn't be surprising to find the Wildcat players overlooking their matchup tonight and looking towards their rematch with Kansas. For a team that has lost their last 5 straight on the road, we believe that would be a mistake. Given that the Wildcats have had such struggles on the road this season, it makes it extremely difficult to not only believe that they can win this game, but that they now have to do it by a fairly significant margin. TCU has shown that they can compete on their home court and we believe that they will be looking to bounce back tonight and give the Wildcats everything they can handle. We believe they are a live dog in this contest and even if they fall short of the outright victory, we believe they should keep this game competitive enough to cover this generous number. The points are likely to come into play in this one.
Please refer to the important SPS Bankroll System instructions received via email upon joining.