An opportunity to lock up no worse than the No. 3 seed in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament is at stake for the Michigan Wolverines as they prepare to meet the Illinois Fighting Illini on Thursday (7:00 p.m. ET).
John Beilein's bunch is tied with the Ohio State Buckeyes for second, each with 11-5 conference records. Ohio State is at Northwestern on Wednesday, with that result still pending.
Michigan blew a chance to be sitting alone in second with a 75-61 home defeat to Purdue last Saturday. The Wolverines were laying 5½ to the Boilermakers, and the loss snapped a four-game win streak both straight up and against the spread, and marked the first home loss for the Maize & Blue this season. Michigan, who relies on the 3-pointer for nearly 45 percent of its field goal attempts, struggled from long-range with just 9-of-32 of the shots finding the net. Zack Novak and Tim Hardaway Jr. were a combined 4-of-16 from beyond the arc, with Hardaway missing all six of his efforts.
Illinois stopped a six-game losing streak on Sunday with a 65-54 win at home vs. Iowa. The Illini were 6½-point favorites, their first cover since the Jan. 31 upset of Michigan State. Illinois ranks last in the Big Ten allowing foes to convert 37.8 percent of their 3-point shots.
The teams met just over two weeks ago in Ann Arbor where Michigan posted a 70-61 triumph as 5-point chalk. The final easily jumped past the 119-point total to end a string of five consecutive 'unders' in the series. Illinois has won the last 13 games played in Champaign where the Wolverines last tasted victory in 1995.
Cavs Host 'Noles In Crucial ACC Tilt
This is like a late-season, Big 6, in-conference BracketBusters game. Florida State is coming off a 2-loss week to end its ACC dreams, while the Virginia Cavaliers are in a desperate fight to win the No. 4 seed in the conference tourney to earn a bye. The Seminoles and Cavaliers tip at Jones Arena in Charlottesville on ESPN2 at 7:00 p.m. (ET).
Both teams only have themselves to blame for their current situations, and the benefactor could eventually be the Miami Hurricanes. The 'Canes just embarrassed FSU down in Coral Gables last Saturday, 78-62 in a pick 'em affair. The Cavaliers still look back to that home loss on Jan. 22 to rival Virginia Tech as one that got away.
The two squads squared off Feb. 4 in Tallahassee where Florida State staved off Virginia's comeback bid for a 58-55 win. The Cavaliers got the cover in the game as 5½-point underdogs, and the Seminoles have managed to cover just one spread since that game. Florida State has won the last six meetings, and the 'under' has cashed in each of the last eight.
Huskies Look To Claim Pac-12 Title in LA
One of the worst seasons in Pac-12 history is slowly coming to an end, with the conference looking at a maximum three bids to the NCAA Tournament. One team that figures to be among the lucky trio is Washington, and the Huskies hope to wrap up the regular season crown this week in Los Angeles where they'll meet Southern California on Thursday (10:30 p.m. ET) followed by Saturday's matchup at UCLA.
Washington brings a four-game win streak into Tinseltown, and has won nine of its last 10 after Saturday's 59-55 victory at Washington State where the Huskies were laying one on the road. Southern Cal, meanwhile, has dropped seven straight and 16 of 17.
This is a rematch from a Feb. 4 contest played in Seattle. Washington easily skated past USC, 69-41, as a 12-point favorite. The game never threatened the 124-point total, marking the fourth consecutive 'under' between the Huskies and Trojans.
West Coast Tourney Continues In Las Vegas
The West Coast Conference tips its tournament at Orleans Arena on Wednesday when Portland and Santa Clara collide. The winner of that game will take on No. 5 seed San Francisco on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. (ET) followed by No. 6 San Diego and No. 7 Pepperdine.
San Diego won and covered the two regular season meetings with Pepperdine, and the Toreros will be out to reverse last season's results when the Waves swept all three contests. The Toreros were 4½-point favorites in a 65-56 win at home on Jan. 26, and were getting two points at Pepperdine on Feb. 9 when they posted a 70-57 victory.
Pepperdine was the No. 6 seed and San Diego No. 7 last March when the two met to begin their WCC tourney action on this same floor. Favored by 4½, the Waves pulled off their season trifecta over the Toreros by holding on for an 84-81 win.
This series has been a boon for 'under' bettors with eight of the last 10 staying below the total. The Pepperdine-San Diego winner will meet No. 3 seed Brigham Young on Friday at approximately 11:00 p.m. (ET).