Michigan State (12-9, 6-9) has dug themselves quite a hole to climb out of. The first step of getting out of it was upsetting the 5th ranked Illinois team. Next up on the schedule is #4 Ohio State (18-5, 12-5).
If the Spartans can pull off the second straight upset of a top 5 team, not only will they enter the bubble conversation, they will probably climb all the way into the tournament. Ohio State looks to keep winning and hold onto the last one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State Betting Preview
The Buckeyes saw a seven-game winning streak come to an end when they lost at home to Michigan 92-87. It was easily the game of the year so far in college basketball.
Ohio State hosts Iowa and Illinois to end the season. If the Buckeyes can win their three remaining games, they will guarantee themselves a one seed in the NCAA Tournament and an easier path to the Final Four.
Ohio State is led by E.J. Liddell in scoring (15.9), rebounds (6.8), and blocks (1.2). Lidell has scored 19 or more points in three straight games and has seemingly found his shot from behind the arc going 7 for 11 in those games.
The Buckeyes second-leading scorer is Duane Washington Jr., who is averaging 15.6 points per game. Washington is shooting 38.8% from three-point range and is second on the team averaging 2.9 assists per contest.
Ohio State is ranked 7th overall by Kenpom. The Buckeyes offense ranks 3rd in efficiency, while the defense comes in at 86th.
Michigan State Betting Preview
While the Spartans conference record of 6-9 is not pretty, it is not disqualifying either. With a tough Big Ten, Michigan State’s worst loss of the season is at Northwestern, which isn’t even that bad considering the Wildcats are ranked 78th by Kenpom.
The problem for Tom Izzo and the Spartans is that there are five very tough opponents to end the season, and Michigan State has to go at least 3-2, and then would need to win at least one game in the Big Ten tournament. Michigan State ends with Ohio State, at Maryland, Indiana, and then a home and home with Michigan.
Michigan State is led by Aaron Henry in scoring (15.2), assists (3.5), and steals (1.3). Henry is shooting exactly 50% from two-point range and knocking down just over 80% of his free throws.
Kenpom has Michigan State ranked 62nd in the nation. The offense is 83rd in efficiency, and the defense ranks 44th.
Buckeyes/Spartans Betting Lines
Mybookie has Ohio State as a 4.5-point favorite. The total is set at 145.5 points.
Free Betting Pick
This is an example of handicappers overreacting to one game. While the Spartans did play better against Illinois, the Fighting Illini had an off night.
I do not expect a let-up for the Buckeyes, who are playing for a one seed. Michigan State is playing for their tournament lives and will have plenty of motivation, but they just are not good enough to beat Ohio State.
This line should be at -6.5 or -7 Ohio State. There is value here, so jump on the Buckeyes -4.5 early as this line will move.
Ohio State 77, Michigan State 69
Spooky Express Free Pick: Ohio State -4.5