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College hoops handicapper Stephen Rodriguez gives us his picks for a strong Sunday slate

BET OF THE DAY: (2u) Memphis Tigers +9 @ -110

Memphis Tigers @ #21 Houston Cougars, 2:30 PM:

  • Four of the last six meetings between these teams have been decided by three points or fewer.
  • Memphis has a 8-5 W/L record against Houston since 2011-12. Stat courtesy of Statschecker.

The reason we’re backing Memphis

Memphis (21-9) picked up a second straight win and a fourth victory in the last five games with a 68-60 triumph against Wichita State.

Precious Achiuwa continued to power the Tigers on both ends of the floor by posting a double-double with 14 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Tyler Harris came off the bench and added a game-high 19 points on five made three-pointers.

#21 Houston (22-8) lost for the third time in the last five games after falling 77-71 to the UConn Huskies. The Cougars saw a seven-point halftime lead slip away behind a poor shooting outing of 36 per cent from the field and 34 per cent from three-point range.

The starters struggled for Houston which resulted in the bulk of the offense production coming off the bench from two players: Quentin Grimes and Caleb Mills. Grimes knocked down four three-pointers for a team-high 24 points, and Mills added 20 points and six rebounds.

These matchups have been extremely close lately, their most recent encounter involving a 60-59 victory for Memphis two weeks ago when the Tigers defense was the difference, forcing 14 turnovers. My expectation is this game will be tightly contested again, and am taking Memphis with the points to cover.

(1u)  Michigan Wolverines +3 @ -110

#25 Michigan Wolverines @ #9 Maryland Terrapins, 12:00 PM:

  • Michigan has won each of the last four meetings with Maryland.
  • Maryland has the third worst ATS record in the Big Ten at 13-15-2.

The reason we’re backing Michigan

#9 Maryland (23-7) saw their hopes of clinching the Big Ten regular season title slip away on the road as the Terrapins lost 78-67 to Rutgers. Maryland had a tough night offensively, especially from three-point range, shooting 19 per cent from beyond the arc and 39 per cent from the field.

Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith were the only players to score in double figures. Smith put together a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Cowan Jr. led the game with 19 points.

#25 Michigan (19-11) got back on track and snapped a two-game losing streak with a commanding 82-58 win over Nebraska. Four out of the Wolverines’ five starters scored in double figures. led by the efforts of Isaiah Livers and Zavier Simpson.

Livers totaled a double-double with a team-high 18 points and 10 rebounds. Simpson added a double-double of his own with 11 points and a team-high 10 assists.

Maryland will have another chance of at least claiming a share of the Big Ten regular season title, however that won’t be an easy task against Michigan. The Terrapins have been nearly perfect at home this season (15-1), and although I give them the edge to win, my expectation is the Wolverines will hang around just long enough to at least cover the spread.

(1u) Michigan State Spartans -7 @ -110

#19 Ohio State Buckeyes @ #16 Michigan State Spartans, 4:30 PM:

  • Michigan State has won eight consecutive home games against Ohio State.
  • The Spartans have won 20 of the last 21 Sunday games at home.

The reason we’re backing Michigan State

#16 Michigan State (21-9) remained on a roll and picked up a fourth straight win in a huge come-from-behind effort to defeat #20 Penn State 79-71 on the road. The Spartans trailed by 15 at halftime, but rallied to outscore the Nittany Lions by 23 in the second.

Xavier Tillman Sr. was a beast on both ends of the floor, totaling a double-double with 23 points and 15 rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting. Cassius Winston bagged 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting with seven assists.

#19 Ohio State (21-9) also picked up a fourth consecutive win after outlasting #21 Illinois 71-63.

Kaleb Wesson led the charge by scoring a team-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting with five rebounds while E.J Liddell came off the bench and made his presence felt with a double-double of 17 points and 11 rebounds.

The Spartans have been nearly unbeatable at home against Ohio State, and this season in general at 11-3. With a win, Michigan State claims at least a share of the Big Ten regular season title and I expect them to show up big at home against the rival Buckeyes.


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