Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:30 PM EST.
9:00 PM EST. Lots to like here with the Wildcats and we’ll start with the respective records of both clubs. Indiana is 12-6 while NW is just 11-7 and although only one game separates the two, Indiana was ranked at one point and has more market credibility. The Hoosiers have also played the tougher schedule, which includes games against Duke, Marquette, Louisville, Butler, Michigan, Maryland, Nebraska and Purdue. However, this is part of a brutal stretch for the Hoosiers, which includes six of eight games on the road. They competed well but lost at Michigan and Maryland, and then they got blown out at home by Nebraska eight days ago before losing gate to wire to the Boilermakers on Saturday. Freshman point guard Rob Phinisee returned against the Terps after a three-game absence due to a concussion but has looked like a shell of his former self. Now the Hoosiers, who we pegged as being overrated weeks ago, are playing back-to-back road tilts with a massive home game against Michigan on deck this Friday.
Talk about a bargain. The Wildcats played three ranked teams — Indiana, Michigan and Oklahoma — to the wire but lost by a combined 11 points with the seven-point loss to the Sooners coming in overtime. One should expect that a team working in two transfers should take some time to develop its chemistry, but we like the veteran leadership being provided on the front line by seniors Vic Law and Dererk Pardon, and unlike last year, when they had to play in suburban Chicago because of renovations to Welsh-Ryan Arena, the Wildcats have a real home court now. The results haven't been there, but are forthcoming, as Northwestern is playing like a quality team. Its opponent-adjusted efficiency is 55th in Division I, and BPI thinks the Wildcats will be a little better than that (46th) going forward. Northwestern excels in specific areas, which includes preventing opponents from scoring from long range, holding teams to the 15th-lowest 3-point field goal percentage and the fourth-lowest percentage of points from beyond the arc. Back on the 1st of December, NW went into Indiana and lost by two points. That was then when the Hoosiers were rolling with confidence. This is now and we’re getting what we’re calling the superior team at home in a better situational spot in an evenly priced game. Don’t miss this one.
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#636 NORTHWESTERN -1½ -105 (Risking 2.1 units - To Win: 2.00)