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PHOENIX SUNS (29-25) at MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (11-42)

">PHOENIX SUNS (29-25) at MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (11-42)


2015-02-19

The Suns really struggled as they entered the All-Star break, losing five of their past six games. They most recently faced the Rockets in Phoenix and lost 127-118 as 2-point favorites. They are just 3-7 ATS in their past 10 games as well, but they have an excellent chance to turn things around with a win over the Timberwolves. Minnesota lost two straight heading into the break, losing 94-91 as a 9-point home underdog versus the Warriors in its most recent game. The Timberwolves had, however, won three straight before those two losses and they are 4-2 ATS in their past six games. Phoenix and Minnesota most recently met at US Airways Center, when the Suns won 110-99 as 14-point home favorites. The Suns also won 113-11 as 8-point underdogs in Minnesota earlier in the season. Theyve won three straight games against the Timberwolves in Minnesota. The Timberwolves are, however, 6-2 ATS in the past eight games played in this head-to-head series. The Suns have played well as a road favorite this season, going 11-3 SU and 8-5-1 ATS. Minnesota, meanwhile, is just 6-16 SU after an ATS win but it is 11-10-1 ATS in those games. The team is also 3-2 ATS when playing on three or more days rest on the season. SG Gary Neal (Acquired in trade) is questionable for the Timberwolves and PF Robbie Hummel (hand) is out for the team. C Alex Len (Ankle) is doubtful for the Suns.



The Suns are in a tight race for the eighth seed in the Western Conference and they need to turn things around immediately or they will find themselves watching the postseason on their televisions once again. PG Eric Bledsoe (17.2 PPG, 5.9 APG, 5.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG) had one of his best games of the season in a loss to the Rockets last game. He played 40 minutes in the loss and finished with 32 points (9-for-19 FG, 2-for-4 3PT, 12-for-13 FT), four rebounds, four assists and two steals. Hell need to continue to use his speed and strength to get to the line for easy points. Bledsoe has, however, struggled against Minnesota this season with just 16.5 PPG (38percent FG) and 1.5 APG in 30.0 MPG in two meetings with the team. Hell need to be more effective this time around. PG Isaiah Thomas (15.2 PPG, 3.7 APG, 1.0 SPG) has seen a major increase in minutes lately, averaging 20.0 PPG, 5.5 APG and 1.5 SPG in 34.5 MPG in the two games before the break. Thomas is averaging just 11.5 PPG in two games against the Timberwolves this season and hell need to find a way to use his speed to get into the lanes in this game. Phoenix needs him to add some serious scoring punch in order to pick up a huge road victory. PF Markieff Morris (15.1 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.2 SPG) was excellent against the Rockets last game, finishing with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action. Morris will need to knock down some outside shots to stretch out the Minnesota defense and allow his guards to attack the rim. With C Alex Len (6.2 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 1.5 BPG) likely out for Phoenix, C Miles Plumlee (4.3 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.0 BPG) should see some big minutes in this one. Plumlee has been an animal the past two games, averaging 4.5 PPG, 9.5 RPG and 4.0 BPG in 2.0 MPG. Hes playing very well defensively, but hell need to find a way to make some shots at the rim or Jeff Hornacek may opt to replace him with somebody who can.



The Timberwolves lost two straight games heading into the break, but the team has actually been performing a lot better recently. PG Ricky Rubio (10.8 PPG, 7.8 APG, 4.9 RPG, 1.4 SPG) played extremely well in a loss to the Warriors last game, finishing with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals. He should thrive against a Suns team that loves to play an up-tempo brand of basketball. SG Andrew Wiggins (15.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG) will also be amped and ready to play this game, as hes averaging 21.0 PPG (58percent FG), 4.5 RPG and 2.0 SPG in 37.5 MPG versus the Suns this season. Wiggins is an excellent player in transition and he should be able to use his size to bully the smaller Phoenix guards in the post as well. This is the perfect matchup for him and Minnesota will need its young superstar to perform at a high level in order to earn this victory. SG Shabazz Muhammad (13.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG) should be fully recovered from a strained oblique after having the All-Star break to get healthy. Muhammad was moving well in the Rising Stars game and its likely that his minute restriction will be lifted for this one. He had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists in 33 minutes the last time he faced Phoenix and he should be able to be more successful as a scorer this time around. C Gorgui Dieng (9.5 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.7 BPG) has played well against the Suns this season, averaging 10.0 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 4.0 APG and 1.5 BPG in 35.5 MPG but his minutes have decreased since C Nikola Pekovic (13.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG) returned. Pekovic is averaging 17.2 PPG and 6.2 RPG in 26.8 MPG over his past five contests. Regardless of who is getting the big minutes at center, the Timberwolves should have a major advantage at the position over the Suns. Both guys will need to attack Mile Plumlee when they are in, as he is very likely to commit fouls.




CBB: Big Men to play big roles in South Region
2010-03-26

This time of year the Football Live Betting Lines nfl football betting Online Bingo NFL Lines mantra of winning college basketball is having great guard play. Every team reportedly needs a player that can control the tempo, knock down shots and defend the perimeter. But what about a big fella in the middle? All four teams tonight have individual or collective key big players that could be the reason they move on to Sunday’s Elite Eight.

Omar Samhan vs. the Waco Gang

Tenth-seeded St. Mary’s has much the same feel as the conference partner Gonzaga had back in 1999. That Gonzaga team went to the Elite 8, with three consecutive upsets, led by guards Matt Santangelo and Richie Frahm. Watching that team play, you were struck by the fact they looked like a collection of guys that would be playing at the health club in the not too distant future, not being Mickey D’s All-Americans with a professional career in their future.

Taking a gander at St. Mary’s (28-5, 22-9 ATS), their team has many of those same qualities except for one person, Omar Samhan. The Gaels big man is one of the finest centers in the country and a terrific example of someone who benefitted from four years of collegiate ball. He has an assortment of moves around the basket and always works to make himself available for passes to the post, which is how he’s scored 61 points in two games. Samhan this season has become a more skilled passer, able to find open shooters on the weak side as double-teams are about to arrive. He’s a very big reason why St. Mary’s is 16-6 ATS facing defensive teams forcing 14 or fewer turnovers game this season.

He and 6’11 Ben Allen will be dueling with Baylor’s big men.

The Bears (27-7, 17-10 ATS) have the size and quickness edge in the paint with 7’0 Josh Lomers and 6’10 Ekpe Udoh. It appears Udoh will probably draw Samhan on defense and he has the quickness and arm length to play denial defense and shot-blocking skill to make him hesitant. Lomers also will undoubtedly take a few turns and he has the bulk to match strength with St. Mary’s big men.

Udoh is also a rim-runner, able to play at accelerated pace, which makes him devastating dunker and exceptional offensive rebounder. Baylor’s length at several positions on the floor allows them to be 7-0 ATS vs. excellent three point shooting teams converting 41 or better of their attempts.

Baylor is a 4.5-point favorite, with total having dipped to 142.5 at Sportsbook.com. Though Waco is a long way from Houston (where this game is being played), Texans tend to stick together and the Bears will have partisan fan-base. The Bears are 11-2 ATS having won four of their last five games and are 14-3 OVER after playing a game as favorite this season. Don’t expect St. Mary’s to be intimidated, with the gregarious Samhan always having something to say.

The Gaels are 8-1 ATS in any tournament game this year and 10-seeds are 4-7 SU against three seeds in this round. One bad note for St. Mary’s, if this 10-seed didn’t make the tournament last year (which the Gaels did not), they are 0-7 SU.
JaJuan Johnson takes on Duke brigade

Purdue (29-5, 15-18 ATS) lacked size before Robbie Hummel went down, now they have to find other ways to win. Coach Matt Painter has dug into the old Southern Illinois playbook (his last stop), where he made size not matter. To upset Duke as 8.5-point underdogs, the Boilermakers are going to have to win the battle on the perimeter and have Johnson create a stalemate inside.

Johnson has good moves around the basket, however, as he exhibited against the stronger Texas A&M big men, he can go outside and bank 15-footers and comfortably make 18-footers, which opens the middle for cutters. Much like the win over the Aggies, Purdue has to manufacture points and have a high number of points per possession. The Boilers have cashed eight of previous 11 tickets as neutral site pooches.

Duke (31-5, 20-14 ATS) can bring tall, strong players in waves. Center Brian Zoubek and Lance Thomas start things off with solid defense and score enough to have to be guarded by opponent. Next comes the Plumlee brothers, both are aggressive rebounders on each of the floor and what they lack in quicks, they make-up for by using bodies to stay fundamentally sound. Like Purdue, the Blue Devils permit 61 points per game and their opponents only convert 40.1 percent of the time. With Duke’s defense, they are 8-2 ATS after allowing 25 points or less in the first half last game this year.

The oddsmakers believe Purdue will control the tempo, with 127 the listed total. The Boilermakers can’t allow many short Duke runs of 6-0 or 8-2, since they lack the firepower to run with the Blue Devils and are 6-13-1 ATS after a cover dating back to last season. Jon Scheyer and teammates only committed five turnovers against California last Sunday and are 8-1 ATS after a game committing eight or less miscues.

This was the only region to have the expected 1 vs. 4 matchup. The top seeds are 26-10 SU, winning by 8.6 points per game. A key number for the lower seed is score differential to pull the upset. Four seeds that win by 10 or more points are 7-6 when these seeds collide; all others are 3-18 SU. (Purdue is +9.9)
The StatFox Power Lines show Baylor by 4, Duke by 8