Friday college basketball betting previews: Michigan-Nebraska and Rhode Island-Davidson

By Greg Peterson  ( 

March 1, 2018 06:31 PM

Michigan vs Nebraska (2:25 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network)

Greg's Projected Line: Michigan -4.5

Offensive Efficiency: Michigan #41, Nebraska #113

Defensive Efficiency: Michigan #33, Nebraska #76

Rebound Rate: Michigan #134, Nebraska #226

Percent of Shots are 3s: Michigan #54, Nebraska #232

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Michigan #328, Nebraska #178

Pace: Michigan #336, Nebraska #251

This game may have as many non-stat factors of any showdown this season. Michigan is looking to improve its seeding and extract revenge from a 20-point loss to the Cornhuskers earlier this year.

Michigan is coming off an overtime win against Iowa in which the Wolverines shot ice cold from 3-point range. It was a similar blueprint that caused the Wolverines to get pounded the first time vs. Nebraska.

Nebraska hangs its hat on defense and not killing itself with little mistakes. The Cornhuskers do not shoot a high percentage from the floor, a lot of which is due to the team taking a lot of jump shots in isolation. With Nebraska launching a lot of those shots, it makes getting rebounds very difficult.

Michigan also takes a lot of 3s, also leading to being far from spectacular on the glass. All five Michigan starters are capable shooters from beyond the arc.

Michigan is a bad free-throw shooting team and it has sprung up at inopportune times this season. It does help that Michigan does not go to the line a lot and does not foul a lot themselves.

Both teams play at slower than average tempos, which will make overall execution and getting clean looks of great importance. Nebraska's magic number is 70 as the Cornhuskers are 4-7 when allowing more than 70 points, 20-2 when they allow fewer than that. With Michigan being 15-3 when it scores at least 70 points, that number will be the one to watch for both the game and spread result.

Rhode Island at Davidson (8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network)

Opening Line: Davidson -2.5

Offensive Efficiency: Rhode Island #61, Davidson #12

Defensive Efficiency: Rhode Island #30, Davidson #155

Rebound Rate: Rhode Island #166, Davidson #82

Percent of Shots are 3s: Rhode Island #318, Davidson #7

Free-Throw Shooting Percentage: Rhode Island #147, Davidson #5

Pace: Rhode Island #187, Davidson #327

Rhode Island had been running the table in the A10 until recently and will look to bounce back from a 78-48 home loss against St. Joe's. Davidson is coming off a close loss of its own, falling to St. Bonaventure 117-113 in triple overtime on Tuesday.

Rhode Island got a 72-59 win the first time these two met with the Rams shooting well from distance and winning the battle of points off the bench 41-12. Rhode Island goes eight deep in its rotation while Davidson goes seven, but the production for the Rams is much less top-heavy.

Guard Kellan Grady and forward Peyton Aldridge average a combined 39.3 points per game, which is over 50 percent of the team's scoring. Both also do a good job at not turning the ball over as Davidson has one of the best assist-to-turnover ratios in the country.

This sets up an interesting chess match as Rhode Island is the same way, being one of the best in America at not turning it over on offense and forcing turnovers on the defensive end.

If games were won and lost on offense alone, Davidson would be where Rhode Island is in the conference standings. Davidson uses the full shot clock to get quality looks and is one of the best in the country at converting free throws. 

Rhode Island is not as strong offensively and is quite ordinary on the glass, but is solid on defense. The Rams are one of two teams to hold Davidson under 60 points.

If Rhode Island can do what they did in the first matchup--get some offensive rebounds and knock down open 3s--the Rams should win this game. 

Davidson was also as cold as ice from downtown in the first engagement, and is usually a good outside shooting team. If things return closer to the mean and the Wildcats can take advantage of their good free-throw shooting, coach Bob McKillop's club will be in a good position to win and cover.

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