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Big 10 Over/Unders in the Big Dance

   by ASA - 03/20/2008

Anybody who caught a glimpse of the Big Ten Tournament last weekend knows that the Big Ten style fits the Midwest mindset. This conference is to college basketball what the NFC North is to the NFL. It’s the black-and-blue conference and opposing teams will know when they just played a Big Ten team because they’ll feel it for weeks.

From top to bottom, every Big Ten team pounds on the opposition in putting a strong emphasis on defense. This style of play often leads to low-scoring games, which leads to a lot of under totals. The NCAA Tournament is no different. Big Ten programs have historically favored the under in the Big Dance, going 32-23 in the first round. Here’s a year-by-year look at Big Ten totals in the first round of the tournament:

1999 6 1
2000 5 1
2001 4 3
2002 2 3
2003 2 3
2004 2 1
2005 3 2
2006 2 4
2007 4 2
TOTAL 30 20

Of the four Big Ten teams locked into the field this year, three are in the top 38 in the nation in scoring defense with Wisconsin and Purdue both in the top 20. The Badgers lead the nation with just 54.4 points allowed per game, the Boilermakers are 20th in the country with 60.9 points allowed per game followed by Michigan State at 61.9, good for 38th in the country. If Ohio State is able to sneak into the tourney, it is 25th in the nation with merely 61.3 points allowed per game.

The four locked-in Big Ten teams in the tourney combined to go 58-52-4 in the unders this season. That mark improves to 76-59-3 if the Buckeyes make the tourney. Wisconsin and Ohio State really favored the under as the under went 18-9 for each squad.

Over the last seven NCAA Tourneys – within the first two rounds – Big Ten programs have gone “underâ€쳌 the total in 15 of the 21 games in which the total was 140 or more. Also, in tourney games featuring Big Ten squads over the same period, the over has gone 12-8 (60%) when Vegas posted a first- or second-round total of 130 or less.

We have several great spots in our crosshairs lined up for this weekend and expect each of those situations to win big. Have a great March.

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