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Big 10 Basketball Tournament

Round 3 Picks and Preview

3/10/12

There were no upsets in the Big Ten Conference tournament on Friday, with all of the higher seeds advancing to Saturday’s semifinals. In fact, three of the four teams favored covered the spread rather easily. Only the second-seeded Michigan Wolverines (24-8, 14-5 Big Ten) got a scare and needed overtime to knock out the Minnesota Golden Gophers (19-14, 7-13), who likely saw their dreams of making it to the NCAA tournament end in a 73-69 loss. A potential No. 1 seed in the Big Dance could also be on the line for the winner of this tournament after Big 12 regular-season champ Kansas fell in the semifinals of its tourney on Friday.

Here’s a look at Saturday’s Big Ten tournament semifinal matchups…

No. 1 Michigan State Spartans (25-7, 14-5) vs. No. 4 Wisconsin Badgers (24-8, 13-6)
1:40 p.m. (ET)


Analysis: The eighth-ranked Spartans had no problems disposing of No. 8 Iowa in a 92-75 rout on Thursday, jumping out to a 55-39 halftime lead and never looking back.  Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green totaled a game-high 21 points and 10 rebounds to help Michigan State cover the 11.5-point spread.  The 14th-ranked Badgers also took care of business despite tipping off as 1-point underdogs against No. 5 Indiana in a 79-71 victory.  They beat the Hoosiers for the 10th time in a row but have dropped five of the last seven meetings with the Spartans, who beat them twice this year both straight-up and against the spread.  The OVER has cashed in the last four meetings and is also 7-1 in Wisconsin’s past eight games overall. Prediction - Michigan State 64 Wisconsin 62



No. 2 Michigan Wolverines vs. No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (26-6, 14-5)
4:10 p.m.


Analysis: Who says these teams need to play football against each other to be exciting?  While Ohio State has won six of the last seven meetings SU with Michigan, the sevent-ranked Buckeyes are just 1-7 ATS in the past eight games between the teams.  The 10th-ranked Wolverines scored their only recent win in the series in the last meeting 56-51 at home on February 18.  Ohio State also barely covered the spread as a 14-point favorite in the first meeting back on January 29 that resulted in a 64-49 victory.  The UNDER is 3-0-1 in the past four meetings, but the OVER has been prevalent for each team lately.  The last five games overall for the Buckeyes have all gone OVER the total compared to the past four for Michigan.  The Wolverines have won seven of their last eight games overall, going 6-2 ATS during that stretch.

Prediction - Ohio State 67 Michigan 53

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