College Basketball Picks: Duke at Ohio State Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/28/2011
Originally I was pondering previewing Wednesday’s Wisconsin-North Carolina matchup in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge as the NCAA basketball early-week top game, but the former top-ranked Heels’ upset loss to UNLV over the weekend made the decision easy:
The best matchup of the two-day Challenge is now Tuesday night’s No. 3 Duke at No. 2 Ohio State game, a potential National Championship preview. It tips at 9:30 p.m Eastern on ESPN.
Duke at Ohio State Betting Storylines
Duke's whirlwind early-season schedule of seven games in 12 days came to a close last Wednesday with a 68-61 win over then-No. 14 Kansas in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.
The Blue Devils (7-0) had beaten then-No. 15 Michigan the night before and the Buckeyes will be the latest big-time program the Dukies have faced, with Michigan State and Tennessee also having gone down already to Mike Krzyzewski’s team.
Hopefully you took my advice on the Duke-KU game, as I previewed that one and Duke did cover the four-point spread and the total did go ‘over’ the 146.5 total. This will be the final currently ranked team that Duke will face until ACC play begins in 2012.
The Buckeyes (6-0) have played a much easier schedule so far and have faced only one ranked foe, beating then-No. 8 Florida 81-74 in Columbus on Nov. 15. In fact, the Buckeyes have yet to even hit the road and have won their games by an average margin of 30.5.
They last played Friday, crushing a decent Valparaiso team 80-47 behind 14 points and 13 rebounds from likely Big Ten Player of the Year (and maybe National Player of Year) Jared Sullinger. He has four double-doubles this season and is averaging 18.8 points (on a whopping 63.3 percent shooting) and 10.7 rebounds.
Ohio State has won 28 straight games at Value City Arena, matching the third-longest home streak at the school.
Duke is the winningest team in ACC/Big Ten Challenge history with an 11-1 record. The Blue Devils are 3-1 in true road games in Challenge history. The ACC won the first 10 ACC/Big Ten Challenges, with the Big Ten taking home bragging rights in each of the past two seasons.
Ohio State is 4-5 all-time in the Challenge and this will be the highest combined ranking for OSU and its opponent in the Buckeyes’ Challenge history. OSU’s first Challenge game was a 91-76 loss to Duke back in December 2002, which was the last meeting between these schools. Duke has played in Columbus once, in 1964, when it defeated Ohio State 94-89 in double overtime in St. John Arena.
The Blue Devils lead the series 3-2.
This should be fun to watch because Duke will throw the Plumlee brothers out there to try and get physical with Sullinger. For what it’s worth to compare, the Blue Devils allowed Kansas star Thomas Robinson to score 16 points and 15 rebounds, but they kept Robinson scoreless in the final four minutes Wednesday.
Look for Sullinger to be more aggressive in this one. He averaged slightly more than 11 shots per game last year and was expected to take more this year with the losses of guys like David Lighty and Jon Diebler, yet Sullinger has attempted more than 10 shots in only one game so far (certainly the blowouts have played a factor). He has gotten to the line plenty, however, and his free-throw percentage is markedly up from last year.
Really the key, I expect, will be Ohio State sophomore guard Aaron Craft. He might be the best defensive guard in the country, and Duke doesn’t really have a true point guard so Craft could cause major problems for the likes of freshman star Austin Rivers and hot-shooting Seth Curry if they are handling the ball. Craft has had seven games in a row, dating to last season’s NCAA Tournament, with at least three steals.
Duke at Ohio State Betting Odds and Trends
The Buckeyes opened as 5.5-point favorites with the total at 144 on NCAA basketball odds.
Duke is 3-4 ATS overall this season and this will be its first true road game. OSU is 2-1 ATS this season (all at home). ‘Over/under’ records: Duke 5-2, OSU 1-2. Duke is 2-5 ATS in past seven vs. Big Ten (1-1 this year). OSU is 4-1 ATS in past five vs. ACC and 7-2 ATS in past nine nonconference games.
College Basketball Picks: Duke at Ohio State Betting Predictions
If Sullinger gets in foul trouble, then you have to go Duke. Barring that, I think this simply comes down to where the game is played: Over the last three seasons Ohio State is 43-1 in Columbus. So OSU has to be the pick in about an eight-point win. Both teams are shooting very well from the field so I expect plenty of points, thus take the ‘over’ as well.
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