Top NCAA Basketball Betting Odds Houston Facing Trap At Wichita State

Top NCAA Basketball Betting Odds: Houston Facing Trap At Wichita State

Written by on February 2, 2023

While Houston is no longer the top-ranked team in the Associated Press Top 25, but the No. 3 Cougars remain the favorites on the NCAAB odds to win the national title. That said, they might be in a trap game Thursday at a dangerous Wichita State team in AAC action. Here’s a look at that and a big game from the Big Ten.

No. 3 Houston at Wichita State (+13)

Tips at 9 PM ET on ESPN2. Houston (20-2) comes off a 75-69 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. Cougars freshman forward Jarace Walker had a career-high 25 points and seven rebounds and UH rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit. Walker, who scored 13 points in the second half, was 10-of-14 from the field.

”Jamal’s will to win equals his refusal to lose,” said Houston Head Coach Kelvin Sampson, who became the only coach in program history to lead the Cougars to eight consecutive 20-win seasons. ”Jarace is just getting more comfortable and more confident, and you can see it in the things we do in practice.”

Walker was named the American Athletic Conference Freshman of the Week for the second straight season and the fifth time in 2022-23. It was the most weekly awards by any Cougar in a single season since Aubrey Coleman was named the Conference USA Player of the Week five times during the 2009-10 season.

Houston’s star is senior guard Marcus Sasser, who was named to the Wooden Award Late Season Top-20 Watch List this week. Sasser leads the Cougars and ranks seventh in The American with 16.2 points per game and has drained a team-high 58 3-pointers this season. He also leads Houston and ranks sixth in the league with 1.8 steals per game and ranks second among the Cougars and among The American’s Top-12 leaders with 3.2 assists per contest and a 2.156 assist-turnover ratio.

Houston leads the nation in scoring margin (+20.5), ranks second in field-goal percentage defense (35.2), stands third in scoring defense (54.9 ppg) and 3-point field goal percentage defense (26.8, 3rd), ranks among the country’s Top 10 in winning percentage (.909, 4th), turnovers (9.9, 6th) and turnover margin (+4.9, 9th), and is among the Top 20 in rebounding margin (+7.8, 11th), offensive rebounding (13.2, 17th) and assist-turnover ratio (1.47, 17th).

This is easily the biggest home game of the season for disappointing Wichita State (11-10). WSU is 1-3 in AAC home games this year (compared to 32-11 over its first five seasons). The four opponents have averaged 10.5 threes on 41.6% accuracy.

WSU last faced an AP top-3 team in the 2013 Final Four (No. 2 Louisville) and last beat one in that Round of 32 that year (No. 1 Gonzaga). WSU’s last regular season game against an AP top-3 foe came Jan. 4, 1990 when it played host to No. 2 Kansas at then-Levitt Arena. WSU is 6-5 against AP top-3 teams inside the Roundhouse. The last of those wins was Feb. 25, 1967 over No. 2 Louisville (84-78). Over the last 10 years, WSU is 5-2 against AP top-25 opponents in Wichita (1-1 vs. UH).

WSU leads the all-time series with the Cougars, 18-17, including 13-4 in Wichita. Thursday’s game brings together two of the NCAA’s top field goal percentage defenses. UH ranks second nationally (.352) and WSU is 13th (.391).

Michigan at Northwestern (-4)

It’s a 7 PM ET tip on ESPN2. Michigan is not an NCAA Tournament team right now at 11-10 overall and has lost five of seven following an 83-61 blowout defeat at Penn State on Sunday. Jett Howard returned from injury with 21 points behind five three-pointers but it wasn’t near enough.

With a one-point lead in the first half, Penn State went on an 18-2 run behind five straight three-pointers to take a 17-point advantage into halftime, and Michigan was unable to overcome the three-point barrage the remainder of the game. The Wolverines won the turnover battle, forcing nine Penn State turnovers while only committing eight. Penn State is the nation’s top team in limiting turnovers, averaging only 8.7 per game. Michigan ranks fifth nationally with 9.8 turnovers per game.

While Michigan has lost five of its last seven games, the Wolverines have not lost more than two straight games. In fact, U-M has not lost more than two games since a four-game stretch in the 2019-20 season. U-M has five losses decided by five-or-fewer points. U-M remains among the nation’s elite for turnovers as they are fifth nationally (9.8) and third in the Big Ten.

Hunter Dickinson continues to lead in scoring (17.7) and rebounding (8.5) — a feat he has done in the last three seasons. He is the fourth Wolverine to lead in both categories in multiple seasons.

Northwestern (15-6) would be in the Big Dance but had a three-game winning streak snapped Tuesday in an 86-70 loss at Iowa. Boo Buie led Northwestern on the night with 20 points and has scored 20-plus points in seven games this season, six of which have come during Big Ten Conference play. NW scored 70+ points for the third consecutive game, the first time it has done so over a three-game stretch this season.

After five consecutive seasons finishing under .500, the Cats are in position for just the second NCAA tournament berth in program history, pegged as a No. 9 seed in ESPN’s latest bracket projection despite losing their top two big men from last year’s team to the transfer portal, with Pete Nance spending his last year of eligibility at North Carolina and Ryan Young wrapping up his career at Duke.

Northwestern lost 85-78 at Michigan on Jan. 15. Kobe Bufkin scored 20 points, and Howard had 16 points and seven assists. The Wolverines held the lead for the final 10 minutes and finished off the Wildcats in the final minute after seeing their late 10-point lead cut in half.

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  • Wichita State and Michigan ATS

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