It has been a fantastic week of betting on college basketball this week. We focused almost exclusively on the Big 10 this week and have won 70% of our bets. Unfortunately, one of those losing bets came last night as we backed the Illinois Fighting Illini getting twelve and a half points against Nebraska. Even though Illinois had an awful record of just 2-5 on the season, they showed that they can play great teams tight, so I took all the points and hoped they would be competitive.
The Cornhuskers jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back. The game sat right around the number all afternoon long, and Illinois even managed to outscore Nebraska in the second half. The Illini had whittled the lead down to single digits with just over five minutes left to play, but Nebraska hit its free throws down the stretch, and they were able to extend the lead and keep the cover intact, and we came up just short.
The game went a lot like I thought it would, but the ball just didn’t bounce our way late in the game, and we picked up the loss. For today’s game, I will continue my trend of focusing on the Big 10 as the Michigan Spartans play the Iowa Hawkeyes.
The Iowa Hawkeyes head to Michigan State to play the Spartans in a Big 10 league game tonight. The Hawkeyes find themselves ranked into the top twenty-five nationally, currently at #18, after a hot start. Iowa has quality wins over Oregon, UCONN, and Pittsburgh already this season. The Hawkeyes lost their first game of the year in their last game, at home against Wisconsin.
Michigan State is also ranked highly to start the year, they come in at number ten this week in the newly released AP poll. The Spartans are one of only two teams, themselves and North Carolina, to be ranked despite having multiple losses. Michigan State has a couple of nice wins on the year, over UCLA and Texas, and has lost games to Kansas and Louisville. The Spartans are big -10.5-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 156.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 3:30 PM PST from the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
I bet against Iowa in their last game and won when they lost to Wisconsin at home. But I earned a new-found respect for the Hawkeyes in the loss. I thought that maybe Iowa’s hot start had been a bit of a fluke and wanted to see how this team would react in Big 10 play. And while the Hawkeyes came up short against the Badgers, they proved that they are going to be competitive in the Big 10 this season. I still think this Iowa team might be a tad overrated at the moment, but I like what they are doing.
This team can score the ball, they play hard on defense, and they make almost all of their free throws. I don’t see this Hawkeyes team being one that will truly contend to win the Big 10 this year, but I can absolutely see them finishing in the top half of the league and getting into the NCAA tournament. Iowa plays a true nine-man rotation, and it should be fun to see how they match up with an equally deep Michigan State team.
Tom Izzo’s squad came into the season as the favorites to win the league title this year, but with Michigan looking nearly unbeatable to start the season out, it looks like the Spartans are going to have plenty of competition. The Spartans have played their normally tough non-conference schedule and have a couple of nice wins. But I think we learned more about this team in their losses than in their wins. On opening night against Kansas, the Spartans were getting blown early on and showed a lot of heart by making a game out of it late.
And on November 27th when they played at Louisville, they showed just how vulnerable they are at the end of games, as they just coughed that game up. Izzo has a reputation of winning tight games, but in that one, his team couldn’t hit their free throws, and they were very sloppy with the ball and it cost them. They lost a game that they probably shouldn’t have and showed me that this team isn’t quite ready to make a Final Four run just yet.
We will find out tonight if this Iowa team’s hot start was just a fluke. I laughed that they were ranked as high as #14 in the country, as there was just no way this is the fourteenth best team in the land. But, this team knows how to play ball, they brought back all of last year’s team that was awful in league play and seem to have built on last year’s failures.
This team has no quit in them whatsoever, and I think they are going to give the Spartans a run for their money tonight. Michigan State almost never losses at home, but all we need is the Hawkeyes to be competitive, and not get blown out, and I think that is what happens. This Iowa defense is the real deal, and in what could very well be a lower scoring game, getting double-digit points is huge.
Iowa showed they can slow down great teams when they held Oregon and UCONN to an average of just seventy points at the 2K Classic in New York City. If Iowa can keep the Spartans to under seventy points, they are sure to cover in this one. Give me the Iowa Hawkeyes +10.5-points tonight from East Lansing!