The college basketball slate is packed with action today as there are 147-games on the schedule, including the majority of the top-25 playing. We have several high profile rivalry games on tap for today with marquee matchups between Duke and North Carolina, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s, Seton Hall at Villanova, LSU at Auburn, and Michigan State at Michigan.
? #BracketPreview TODAY ?
The Selection Committee will release its top 16 overall seeds at 12:30pm ET on CBS! ? pic.twitter.com/ZODUwX28hW
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) February 8, 2020
However, the big news today is that the NCAA tournament selection committee will release their current top four seeds in each of the regional brackets. This is our first chance to see how the committee is viewing various teams this year. Will Duke end up on the top line? How will they rate the undefeated San Diego State Aztecs? How many teams from the Big 10 will get top seeds? We will get a lot of those questions answered today. For our daily betting pick, we will head to the Big 10, where the Indiana Hoosiers host the Purdue Boilermakers.
- Purdue Boilermakers (13-10) at Indiana Hoosiers (15-7)
- Assembly Hall, Bloomington
- 11:00 AM PST
- TV: ESPN
The Purdue Boilermakers are looking to stay hot as they have won back to back games for the first time since December, tonight, as they play in Indiana against the Hoosiers. The Boilermakers have played one of the toughest schedules in the country, with an SOS of ninth in the nation. While their overall record is mediocre at 13-10, they have wins over top-100 teams like VCU, Virginia, Minnesota, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa.
— Indiana Basketball (@IndianaMBB) February 8, 2020
For Indiana, the Hoosiers have fallen on hard times as they have lost three straight games. The losses were all very understandable, though, as each of those three teams, Maryland, Penn State, and Ohio State, are all currently ranked in the top-15 on kenpom. The Hoosiers have signature wins over Louisiana Tech, Florida State, UCONN, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan State this year. Indiana is 4-1 at home in Big 10 conference play.
I have written up the Boilermakers several times this season, and it is hard not to feel bad for this team. After a heart breaker last year deep in the NCAA tournament, losing to the eventual national champs, Virginia, Purdue was expected to rebuild this season. But I guess nobody told the schedule makers that, as this Purdue team has played a murderer’s row of teams this season.
Of the ten losses on the year for Purdue, all but one have come against teams currently ranked in the top-100. That includes losses to top-30 teams like Marquette, Florida State, Butler, Illinois, Michigan, Maryland, Illinois, and Rutgers. And several of those games were very close. They lost to Florida State and Michigan in overtime. And the losses Rutgers, Maryland, and Butler all came by single digits. So, while this team hasn’t won too many games, they have been very competitive with the best teams in the nation and are much better than their record might lead you to believe.
Before this recent three-game skid, it looked like Indiana was going to compete for the Big 10 regular-season title. They were 5-3 in league play, with wins over Michigan State and Ohio State. But when given the opportunity to compete with the very best the Big 10 had to offer, they have struggled. But similar to Purdue, some of those losses were very closely contested.
The home-court loss to Maryland came at the buzzer, after having a lead with less than fifteen seconds left on the clock. That is their only home floor loss in Big 10 play this year, and they probably should have won that game. In their four home wins in league play, they have won each of those games by at least four points.
Who Do I Like?
This number opened up at Indiana -1, and the early betting sharps hammered the home team. This line has been moving towards Indiana all morning long, as the sharps realize that winning on the road in the Big 10 is a very tough thing to do and that Purdue has only one true road win in Big 10 play, and that came over cellar-dwelling Northwestern.
This is likely to be a game that the public will back the home team as well, as, on the surface, Purdue looks like a bad team, or at the very minimum, and underachieving team, and the public loves to fade teams like that. But when you look at kenpom’s rankings, the Boilermakers actually significantly outrank the Hoosiers according to the analytics.
I bet this game at the opening number last night, and I still see plenty of value in backing Indiana at where the line stands now, at -2. But you may have to line shop a little bit to get that number as I see some -2.5’s and even one -3 floating around out there. This game is going to be tightly contested, and while one point won’t scare me off the home team, two or three absolutely would.
So, I will jump on the side of my old reliable, and back a home team in the Big 10. Give me the Indiana Hoosiers -2-points today at home in a game that should come down to the wire!