College hoops fans will have some very interesting games to look forward to on Sunday, particularly in the Big Ten, the American Athletic Conference, and the Pac-12.
Michigan State Spartans @ Michigan Wolverines
Sunday, 12:05 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: Michigan -2.5
The Michigan State Spartans and Michigan Wolverines have been wobbling in recent weeks. Michigan State has lost to Wisconsin and Nebraska, while Michigan has fallen to Iowa and Wisconsin. Yet, these teams still share the lead for the Big Ten regular season title, with Michigan having beaten Michigan State a few weeks earlier in the season. If Michigan wins this game, the Wolverines will not only have a one-game lead in the standings; they will have the head-to-head tiebreaker due to a sweep of the season series. Michigan would therefore get the top seed in the Big Ten Conference Tournament in the second week of March.
The real question mark in this game is Michigan State’s health. The Spartans have been ravaged by injuries all season long with no real let-up in the progression of bumps and bruises. Point guard Keith Appling might not be able to play in this game. Branden Dawson might be able to play in this game, but his status is uncertain as well. Given these limitations, Michigan looks like the better choice on the betting lines.
Southern Methodist Mustangs @ Connecticut Huskies
Sunday, 2:05 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: UConn -6.5
This is a game in which the split between SMU home games and SMU road games is the most obvious thing to look at. SMU hasn’t lost once at home this season. Dallas has been a great place for the Mustangs, who have scored their biggest wins in their own building. SMU’s victories over Memphis, Connecticut, and especially Cincinnati have put the Ponies in position to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1993. However, when SMU goes on the road, it becomes a completely different and far more ineffective team. SMU has lost to South Florida and Temple, two genuinely bad teams, on the road. This is why SMU is not yet an NCAA tournament lock. Connecticut should handle the Mustangs at home in the Nutmeg State.
Arizona State Sun Devils @ Utah Utes
Sunday, 8:05 PM ET
College Basketball Betting Odds: Utah -4
This is a must-win game for Utah, a team with a slight outside chance of making the NCAA tournament. The Utes are likely headed for the NIT, but if they realistically want to make the field of 68, they can’t stumble a single time at home and must accumulate as many quality wins as possible. Arizona State – a team that is now more likely than not to make the NCAA field after an upset win over Arizona this past Friday – would represent a valuable win for Utah. Since Arizona State is not a titan on the road, this seems like a situation in which Utah is going to be the team that plays with more energy and focus from beginning to end. The Utes will show a form of desperation that should serve them well on the college basketball betting spread and give them enough of an edge to prevail over the Sun Devils, who might let up just a bit in this situation after doing some heavy lifting against Arizona.