The No. 15 Michigan Wolverines and UCLA Bruins will face off in the third-place game in this year’s Maui Invitational.
Michigan Wolverines vs. UCLA Bruins
Michigan was unable to overcome a slow first half in dropping a 82-75 decision to the Duke Blue Devils as seven-point neutral-site underdogs Tuesday. The Wolverines trailed by a 34-22 margin at the break and star guard Tim Hardaway Jr. was unable to connect on his first six shots. “They completely shut down Tim,” stated Wolverines coach John Beilein after the game. “They just wouldn’t let him get the ball.” He still paces the team in averaging 16.6 points per game. Michigan is 37-24 ATS over the last two-plus years, while the ‘under’ is 32-27 in that span.
The Wolverines still have to consider this a successful trip to Hawaii, capturing their first win over a top-10 program in the Beilein era. Michigan is competing in this particular event for the fifth time in school history. Fatigue could play a major factor down the stretch in this matchup, with its regulars playing extended minutes versus top-notch opponents, while UCLA had won of its games come against Chaminade.
UCLA is 1-3 on the season and the program’s only win came against an overmatched team on Monday. The Bruins captured a 92-60 win over Chaminade as 14.5-point favorites, hitting 33-of-64 shots from the field. Matters of discipline and injuries have severely handicapped this team’s performance in the early going, including junior guard De’End Parker missing the last two games with a sprained right knee. He is listed as doubtful for Wednesday’s affair. UCLA is 5-9 ATS in November the last two-plus years, while the ‘over’ is 7-4 in that situation.
The Bruins will be meeting the Wolverines for the 16th time, tallying an 11-4 mark in those contests, including wins in four of the last five meetings. UCLA dropped a 55-52 affair the last time the two teams squared off as 8.5-point home favorites on Nov. 20, 2008. The program had its five-game winning streak snapped in the Maui Invitational yesterday, falling 72-56 to the Kansas Jayhawks. Head coach Ben Howland needs to find a way to create some offense, with only two players averaging in double-figures, led by Jerime Anderson’s 13.7 points per game.
Bettors will likely back the Wolverines due to their 5-0 ATS mark following a straight-up loss, while the Bruins are 4-12 ATS when playing on a neutral floor.
Recommendation: Michigan Wolverines -5.5
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