Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-8 SU, 8-4 ATS, 5-6-1 O/U) vs. Michigan Wolverines (16-5 SU, 11-8-1 ATS, 8-12 O/U)
NCAAB: Sunday, January 21, 2018 at 12:00 p.m. EST
The Line: Michigan Wolverines -12. Total: 124.5
The Michigan Wolverines will be trying to get back on the winning track when they host the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at the Crisler Center on Sunday afternoon. Michigan is 16-5 overall and had won two games in a row before falling at Nebraska on Thursday. The Scarlet Knights halted a two-game skid by defeating Iowa on Wednesday.
Rutgers’ two-game slide came to halt with an impressive 80-64 victory over Iowa earlier this week. The Scarlet Knights, who are ranked 12th nationally in scoring defense (62.2 points per game allowed), have held 13 opponents to 65 or fewer points and hope to take another step in the right direction under second-year coach Steve Pikiell by notching their first road win against a ranked opponent since beating Pittsburgh in January 2008.
“We’ve played a really tough schedule so I told these guys to keep fighting,” Pikiell said. “When we’re locked in offensively and defensively we have a chance to be a good team.”
Corey Sanders led the Scarlet Knights with 18 points and a season-high eight assists in the win against Iowa to move into a tie for 15th place on the program’s all-time assists list with 293. Geo Baker added 17 points and five assists, while Issa Thiam matched his career high with four three-pointers en route to 16 points to help his team post its first win against Iowa in six tries. Deshawn Freeman contributed 14 points and eight rebounds to finish in double-figures for the 16th time this season. Wednesday marked Rutgers’ second game without team captain Mike Williams, who is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
Declawed by Nebraska
Michigan is looking to bounce back from a humbling loss, as it dropped a disappointing 72-52 decision to Nebraska–its first loss to the Cornhuskers in 11 all-time meetings–on Thursday after entering the Top 25 for the first time this season. Michigan has been held to fewer than 70 points in three of its last four games as it aims to rediscover its shooting touch. This is a stretch that most recently featured a 37.5 percent performance from the field against Nebraska. Charles Matthews was the lone Wolverine to finish in double-figures, scoring 15 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman added nine points, while Moritz Wagner was held to a season-low two points after averaging 22.5 in his previous two games.
“I’m not concerned as we know this is part of the growing process of this team,” Wagner commented. “We just can’t skip any steps in our development and think we’re a better team than we actually are.”
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are:
- 9-19 ATS in their last 28 road games
- 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games against teams with winning percentages under .600
- 1-4 ATS in their last five Sunday games
The Michigan Wolverines are:
- 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 overall
- 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine home games
- 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 games against the Big 12
The Wolverines are among the top three in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55-to-1). Michigan has won the last three home meetings with Rutgers by an average of 12.3 points. The Scarlet Knights have dropped 10 of their 11 Big Ten road games the last two seasons and they have lost nine straight in the head-to-head series with Michigan. Rutgers is 9-19 ATS in its last 28 on the road, 6-14 ATS in its last 20 against opponents with winning percentages under .600, and 1-4 ATS in its last five on Sundays. The Wolverines are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 overall, 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine at home, 5-2-1 ATS in their last eight against winning opponents, and 9-3-1 ATS in their last 13 against the Big 12. Don’t be surprised if those trends continue.
Pick: Michigan Wolverines -12
Rutgers is nothing if not stingy on defense. That is especially bad news for a Michigan squad that struggled against Nebraska and watched Moritz be totally of the mark. On the other end of the floor, the Knights could be slowed by Williams’ absence. The under is 4-1 in the Scarlet Knights’ last five against opponents with winning percentages over .600 and 5-1 in their last six on Sundays. It is also 8-3 in the Wolverines’ last 11 at home. Look for this one to stay under the total.