A huge college basketball card for Wednesday night as conference action is now in full swing. Two of the biggest matchups take place on ESPN national television. Michigan State returns home after back-to-back road losses to face Indiana, while Maryland faces their biggest rival, Duke, on the road.
INDIANA at MICHIGAN STATE (-5 ½, 146 ½) (ESPN).The BIG 10 is shaping up as the most competitive conference in the country this season with at least six legitimate Top 25 programs. Both Indiana and Michigan State qualify in this grouping, along with Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Ohio State.
The Spartans were a preseason #1 pick by many handicappers, but have struggled so far this season with four losses already versus Hawaii, Gonzaga, Illinois, and Wisconsin. The Spartans lost both road games last week and shot just 36 percent versus the Illini and only 35 percent versus the Badgers.Michigan State is a perfect 8-0 SU at home this season, but remain over-priced as evident by their 2-4 ATS mark in those home games.
The biggest problem has been a terrible perimeter defense that has allowed 42 percent shooting from three-point range at home this season. Overall, Michigan State is allowing 38 percent from long range (versus opponents that average just 34 percent overall).Indiana is an excellent shooting club and the Hoosiers are averaging an incredible 48 percent this season from three-point range (versus opponents that allow just 35 percent). The Hoosiers have one of the most explosive offenses in the nation and have shot 49 percent or higher from the field in ten of their twelve games this season.
Overall, Indiana averages 81 points per game and 53 percent shooting (versus opponents that allow just 67 points and 44 percent on average).Indiana also has a strong defense that allows just 65 points and 40 percent shooting this season (versus opponents that average 71 points and 45 percent overall). The Hoosiers are coming off back-to-back home wins over Michigan and Ohio State, but Indiana failed to cover both games, going 2-0 SU and 0-2 ATS.Home court has been strong in this series with the home team going 10-1 SU and 8-3 ATS over the past eleven head-to-head meetings.MARYLAND at DUKE (-14, 156) (ESPN).This has been one of the greatest rivalries in college basketball over the past decade as these schools have met thirteen times in the past five years with Duke holding a narrow 7-6 SU advantage.
However, Maryland is a strong 9-4 ATS in those games and the Terps have gone a perfect 3-0 SU/ATS in the three most recent head-to-head meetings, winning all three games outright as an underdog of +9, +12 ½, and +3 ½ points.Duke is currently the #1 ranked team in the nation and the Blue Devils are coming off an impressive 82-64 road win at Wake Forest on Sunday. Duke has shot 53 percent or higher in five of their past six games and overall they are averaging 52 percent from the field this season (versus opponents that allow just 40 percent overall).Maryland is a strong offensive team as the Terps average 48 percent shooting (versus opponents that allow just 43 percent). Maryland is also strong from long-range as they hit 38 percent of their three-point shots.
Duke is averaging 40 percent (versus opponents that allow just 33 percent) from beyond the arc, but the biggest difference between these two clubs is perimeter defense as Duke allows just 25 percent from three-point range, while Maryland allows 35 percent.Maryland had played four away games on neutral courts this season, but they had not play a true road game on an opponent's home court until this past Saturday when they lost 84-70 as a 3-point road favorite at Miami-Fla..
Steve Merril is a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Read all of his articles at http://www.procappers.com/Steve_Merril.htm.
By: Steve Merril