MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (17-5)
at IOWA HAWKEYES (17-6)
Carver-Hawkeye Arena – Iowa City, IA
Tip-off: Saturday, 2:00 p.m. ET
Line: Iowa -5, Total: 149
No. 10 Michigan looks to complete the season sweep over No. 17 Iowa when it travels to Iowa City on Saturday.
These two teams played in Ann Arbor on Jan. 22, and the Wolverines were able to secure the 75-67 victory. In that matchup, SG Nik Stauskas had a huge game, scoring 26 points while dishing out five assists and grabbing five rebounds. This was a strong offensive showcase, as both teams shot 47% FG with four Michigan players reaching double-figures and three Hawkeyes netting at least 13 points. The Wolverines looked to be in trouble after losing PF Mitch McGary for the season, but have won 11 of 12 games since he went down, losing only at Indiana last Sunday. Michigan is now 11-8-1 ATS overall and 7-3 ATS (9-1 SU) in Big Ten play, but the club is just 3-4 ATS on the road. The Hawkeyes have been in a bit of a tailspin, losing three of their past five games (SU and ATS), but they are still 13-8 ATS overall and 6-4 (SU and ATS) in Big Ten play. Iowa is also 11-2 SU at home, but just 6-5 ATS in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes are one of the best rebounding teams in the country this season, currently ranking third in the nation with 43.3 RPG, and have a big advantage in the paint against a Michigan team that really struggles on the glass with only 32.9 RPG (279th in nation). However, the Wolverines have absolutely dominated this series recently, going 11-2 SU (9-4 ATS) in the past 13 meetings with the Hawkeyes, but are just 3-2 SU (2-3) in Iowa City during this run.
Can Michigan complete the season sweep of Iowa? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts have been rolling in college basketball Best Bets this season with a 59% ATS (193-135-6) mark, including a stellar 62% ATS (161-101-5) record since Nov. 23. StatFox Brian is at 64% ATS (42-24-2) in Best Bets for the season and 67% ATS (35-17-1) since Nov. 26. StatFox Dave is 61% ATS (40-26-1) for the season and 68% ATS (23-11) since Dec. 18, while StatFox Scott is a hefty 59% ATS (39-27-1) for the season and 62% ATS (29-18-1) since Dec. 2. StatFox Zach is a strong 58% ATS (37-27-3) on Best Bets this season, including 61% ATS (31-20-2) since Nov. 22, while StatFox Gary is 53% ATS (35-31-2) for the season, and 57% ATS (29-22) since Nov. 29.
Michigan has an efficient offense, ranking 68th in the nation in scoring (76.1 PPG) on a hefty 48.7% FG (16th in Div. I) with 15.2 APG (41st in nation). The Wolverines are also a terrific long-range shooting team, hitting 39.2% of their three-point tries (26th in nation). Last season, the Wolverines had one of the best players in the country in PG Trey Burke, and replaced him this season with freshman PG Derrick Walton Jr. (8.7 PPG, 41% threes, 2.7 APG). He has continued to get better throughout the season, averaging 13.5 PPG (7-of-12 threes) in his past four games. Walton was bothered by the flu in the last month's meeting with Iowa and played only three minutes. SG Nik Stauskas (17.3 PPG, 3.9 APG, 3.6 RPG) has slowed down a bit since his 26-point outburst against the Hawkeyes, averaging just 7.5 PPG on 2-of-9 FG in his past two games combined. SG Caris LeVert (12.2 PPG, 39% threes, 4.4 RPG, 2.9 APG) did not play well against the Hawkeyes on Jan. 22, scoring just five points on 2-of-9 FG, but he has been much better in four games since, averaging 14.8 PPG (8-of-15 threes), 7.3 RPG and 3.3 APG. PF Glenn Robinson III (13.6 PPG, 50% FG, 4.3 RPG) is coming off a season-high-tying 23 points in Wednesday's win over Nebraska, and he also had a big night against Iowa on three weeks ago with 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds (4 offensive), helping his team nearly outrebound the glass-eating Hawkeyes, who held a slight 33-32 rebounding advantage in that meeting. If Michigan is able to keep rebounding close again, it will be in great shape to sweep the season series.
However, Iowa is no pushover, especially on the offensive end of the court where it ranks 10th in the nation in scoring (83.7 PPG) on 47.2% FG (46th in Div. I) and 16.0 APG (21st in nation). Senior SG Roy Devyn Marble (16.0 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 3.0 APG) is a talented player that usually does a great job of running the offense, but he has been very careless with the basketball in his past five games with 19 turnovers and just nine assists. That hasn't affected his scoring though, as Marble has netted at least 13 points in every Big Ten game this season, averaging 17.0 PPG and 4.2 RPG in conference action. He did not play very well in the loss in Ann Arbor though, going 3-for-9 from the floor and committing four turnovers. One of the biggest reasons for Iowa's season dominance on the glass has been the play of junior PF Aaron White (13.3 PPG, 60% FG, 6.5 RPG). He has the ability to dominate the game in many different ways, and he kept the Hawkeyes competitive versus Michigan with 17 points, seven boards, four assists and two steals. PF Jarrod Uthoff (8.5 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.2 BPG) does a great job of opening up space for White down low, playing the role of the stretch forward. On the season, he shoots 46% from three-point range, and gives Iowa another guy that can get points. The Hawkeyes are 9-1 SU this season when Uthoff scores at least 10 points, but they have to get more out of him if they are going to get winning again. In the team’s past five games, he is averaging just 3.4 PPG on 7-of-22 FG (32%), including two points on 1-of-5 FG in the loss to Michigan. Senior SF Melsahn Basabe (7.8 PPG, 57% FG, 6.4 RPG) is the glue guy on the team, doing whatever is necessary for his team to get the job done. He created a big matchup problem for the Wolverines last month as he dropped in 17 points (7-of-12 FG) with six rebounds. But since that meeting, Basabe is averaging a mere 6.0 PPG and 4.5 RPG over four games.