The final day of 2020 has a handful of college basketball games during the afternoon and evening hours. New Year’s Eve isn’t exactly the event it usually is because of the virus, so sports betting might take on more of a role in your festivities. There is more than enough action to go around between college basketball, NBA, college football, and even horse racing. There is no Thursday Night Football because it’s Week 17. It doesn’t feel like it, but the NFL has made it to Week 17 on the calendar. The only primetime game is Sunday Night Football between Washington and the Philadelphia Eagles.
There is plenty of primetime college basketball on New Year’s Eve. There are eight games beginning at 7:00 p.m. or beyond. The biggest of which has to be No. 15 Michigan in Maryland for a meeting with the Terrapins at Xfinity Center. The Wolverines are one of four ranked teams in action on New Year’s Eve. No. 6 is the highest ranked team scheduled to play today. They are hosting No. 21 Minnesota Golden Gophers for what is the only matchup with two ranked teams squaring off on Thursday. Michigan and Maryland have the primetime slot on ESPN, though, so they are sure to get more attention.
Michigan is a good basketball program and only going to go up as Juwuan Howard recruits some more. With the football team struggling, they’ve almost become more of a basketball school than football in recent memory. John Beilein had a lot of success at Michigan before he left to take the Cleveland Cavaliers job in Ohio. However, Howard is likely a stronger recruiter than Beilein. Michigan already has the No. 1 recruiting class for 2021 and Howard took this job last year. The Wolverines at No. 15 is just the beginning of what could be several deep runs in the NCAA Tournament in the near future.
The current Michigan squad heads into Maryland with a record of 7-0. They are coming off a 80-69 win on the road against Nebraska on Christmas Day. Travelling on Christmas isn’t fun, but the Wolverines didn’t seem to mind heading on the road. The only problem with Michigan is that they haven’t played a ranked opponent yet. Following Maryland tonight, three of their next four games could be against ranked teams.
We are going to find out how good the Wolverines are soon. Maryland is not ranked, but is coming off an impressive win on the road over Wisconsin. They bounced the No. 6 Badgers by a score of 70-64 to advance to 6-3 on the season. Their problem has been consistency. While they beat Wisconsin, the Terrapins have losses against Purdue, Clemson, and Rutgers. Only Rutgers is ranked. Head below for our free Michigan vs. Maryland pick for December 31, 2020.
Michigan Wolverines vs. Maryland Terrapins NCAA Betting Odds:
Michigan vs. Maryland Prediction:
Michigan has been getting tremendous production up front from forward Isaiah Livers and center Hunter Dickinson. Both are averaging just over 15 points per game. If you’re a Michigan fan, you have to be really excited about Dickinson who is making a big impact as a freshman. Dickinson has recorded 15.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Expect him to have a chip on his shoulder tonight.
For whatever reason, Maryland did not recruit Dickinson who is a budding star in Ann Arbor. He was asked whether he was close to becoming a Terrapin in an interview recently and he indicated the program didn’t his hometown university didn’t talk to him. Oops. It was probably a longshot they were going to sign with Maryland, but he likely feels slighted in a sense because they didn’t recruit him.
Michigan heads into Thursday night with an average of 82 points scored per game for 49th out of 336 teams in the NCAA. Defensively they’ve allowed 67.6 points per game. While the Wolverines have not played a ranked team, their simple rating system number of 26th is a good sign. They own a SRS of 17.50, which is in the very good percentile in the nation. The figure, which takes into account point differential and strength of schedule, paints Michigan in a good light.
The Terrapins got hot in the second half against Wisconsin after scoring just 24 points in the first half. They were hitting everything on the floor, something Maryland can’t depend on doing every night. In fact, Maryland has been a hot and cold team. They’ve netted 74.6 points per game, and allowing 65.1 points per game.
After that emotional win over No. 6 Wisconsin on the road, and how up and down the Terrapins have been, it’s hard to trust them on New Year’s Eve. Eric Ayala should keep this game interesting, but this line looks too short on a Michigan team that is being slept on early in the 2020-21 campaign. Look for a big performance from Dickinson, as he goes home to Maryland and returns back to Ann Arbor with a win.