Big Ten Tournament odds: Penn State vs. No. 6 Michigan
The University of Michigan has the chance to become the first No. 5 seed in NCAA conference tournament history to get a top seed in the NCAA Tournament if U-M, which is sixth in the nation, can win the Big Ten Tournament. It looks for payback for one of the nation’s biggest upsets earlier this season when Michigan faces Penn State in the opening round Thursday in Chicago. The Wolverines opened as 14.5-point favorites on WagerWeb.com. Check our current lines.
Michigan had a chance to share the Big Ten title but lost 72-71 in the final seconds to Indiana on Sunday, giving the Hoosiers the outright conference title — the loss dropped U-M all the way to a No. 5 seed. Jordan Morgan had a fairly easy tip-in attempt of Trey Burke’s miss that could have won it for Michigan, but the ball rolled tantalizingly around the rim and off. Burke scored 20 points on 7-of-20 shooting. Robinson added 13 points, Nik Stauskas had 10 of his 12 points in the first half and Tim Hardaway scored 11. The Wolverines were 7 of 13 at the foul line.
Burke, the 2012 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, became the sixth U-M player to earn Big Ten Player of the Year in program history and first since Glen Rice in 1989. In addition to his Player of the Year distinction, Burke was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team. Leading the Wolverines to a 25-6 overall mark through the regular season, Burke is averaging 19.2 points and 6.8 assists per game and was the only Big Ten player to score at least 15 points in all 18 conference games. He has reached double-digit scoring in every game this season, hitting the 20-point mark on 12 occasions and recording three double-doubles (all points and assists). He dished out at least four assists in all but one game.
Penn State started Big Ten play 0-14 but won two of its final four games. The Nittany Lions fell in their season finale, 63-60 to Wisconsin on a Badgers buzzer-beater — that win gave UW the No. 4 seed over Michigan. Jermaine Marshall had a game-high 23 points for Penn State (10-20, 2-16), while D.J. Newbill added 22, including a jumper with 5 seconds left to tie the game at 60.
Back on Feb. 27 in State College, Penn State, then 8-18 overall and 0-14 in the Big Ten, stunned No. 4 Michigan 84-78. Marshall scored 25 points and hit a key layup with 1:06 left to help Penn State roar back from a 15-point deficit. Penn State had lost 18 consecutive regular-season Big Ten games dating to last season. It was Penn State’s first win over a top-5 team since defeating No. 5 North Carolina 82-74 in the second round of the 2001 NCAA tournament. Burke had 18 points and six assists, but also committed six turnovers for Michigan.
The winner of this game faces Wisconsin on Friday. Michigan has faced Penn State twice in Big Ten Tournament history, falling to the Nittany Lions in both 2000 (76-66) and 2001 (82-80). Michigan has won its first game at the Big Ten Tournament for six straight seasons.
WagerWeb.com trends: Nittany Lions are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games following a S.U. loss. Nittany Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Thursday games. Wolverines are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games vs. a team with a losing S.U. record. Wolverines are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall. Wolverines are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 vs. Big Ten. Over is 6-0 in the last 6 meetings. Favorite is 14-6-1 ATS in the last 21 meetings.