MICHIGAN WOLVERINES (10-0)
vs. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (4-4)
Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival
Tip-off: Saturday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: Michigan -11, Total: 128.5
No. 3 Michigan looks to keep its perfect start intact when it battles head coach John Beileinís old team, West Virginia, in the headliner of Saturdayís Brooklyn Hoops Winter Festival.
The Wolverines have failed to cover in each of their past two games, though they still had little trouble dispatching of Arkansas last week (80-67 as 15-point favorites) and Binghamton on Tuesday (67-39 as 37-point favorites). West Virginia has struggled all year, losing at Duquesne on Tuesday to fall back to .500. They also failed to cover in a one-point home win over Virginia Tech last week.
Can Michigan dominate yet again? For the answer, connect to College Basketball Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. The StatFox experts have a collective 51.1% ATS mark (117-112-6) in college basketball Best Bets for the season, led by StatFox Gary, who is 12-7 ATS (63%) since Nov. 26 and 60% ATS (25-17) for the season. StatFox Dave is at 52% ATS (43-39-2) on the year, helped out by a 5-0 ATS mark over the past six days.
While in the past theyíve relied heavily on Beileinís pass-and-cut offense to compensate for mediocre talent, this yearís Michigan team is loaded with elite players. PG Trey Burke (17.1 PPG on 51% FG, 6.9 APG) seems to be a lock for the All-America team, while junior SG Tim Hardaway Jr. (14.8 PPG) has seemingly bounced back from an up-and-down sophomore season. The two form the nationís best backcourt, and the Wolverines are averaging just 9.8 turnovers per game so far. Freshman SG Nik Stauskas (13.5 PPG, 59% 3-pt FG) has emerged as an elite deep threat, knocking down 59% of his threes since moving into the starting lineup four games ago. Add in freshman SF Glenn Robinson III (11.6 PPG on 54% FG) and PF Josh Morgan (6.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG) and the Wolverines have a starting five that can overwhelm opponents.
West Virginia is trying to feel its way through a rocky start. The Mountaineers have yet to find anyone close to a go-to scorer to replace the departed Kevin Jones, as only PG Juwan Staten (10.6 PPG) is averaging double-digits. PF Deniz Kilici (9.9 PPG, 6.1 RPG) and C Aaric Murray (9.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG) have been effective at times, but have both consistently battled foul problems. Shooting has been the real problem, as neither SG Gary Browne (26% 3-pt FG), PG Jabarie Hinds (27% 3-pt FG), SG Terry Henderson (26% 3-pt FG) or SG Matt Humphrey (27% 3-pt FG) has provided a threat from behind the arc. The Mountaineers are making just 4.3 threes per game. Considering how little Michigan fouls (11.6 PF per game, fewest in the nation), shot-making is a must to hang with the Wolverines.