College Basketball Picks: Michigan State at Ohio State Odds Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 2/15/2011
Back when the college basketball season started, tonight’s Big Ten game between Michigan State and Ohio State was circled by many fans as the likely game of the year between the two top contenders in the conference and two Top-10 teams. Well, Ohio State has kept up its end of the bargain, but the Spartans are uncharacteristically struggling under Coach Tom Izzo and are squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble after beginning the season at No. 2 in the nation.
How the Teams Enter
The one thing going for Michigan State is that it had one of the nation’s top nonconference schedules and thus their strength of schedule is in the Top 10 in the country. The Spartans might need all the help they can get if they don’t win tonight because they are just 14-10 overall (one win over a D-II team) and 6-6 in the Big Ten. Sparty enters off one of its best efforts in a while, a 75-57 win over Penn State in which Draymond Green had 15 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists to become the third Michigan State player ever to have a triple-double.
The Buckeyes (24-1, 11-1) became the final team to lose in the nation and dropped from the top of the polls after blowing a 15-point lead nearly midway through the second half at Wisconsin on Saturday, 71-67. Ohio State's loss stopped the second-longest season-opening win streak in Buckeyes history. The 1960-61 team opened 27-0. Star freshman Jared Sullinger, as usual, led OSU with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Afterward he said he thought the loss would be good for the team to put any undefeated thoughts behind it. However, OSU could return to No. 1 in the next polls; it is No. 2 in the AP and No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. Top-ranked Kansas lost on Tuesday night and USA Today No. 2 Texas has two relatively tough tests this week.
Michigan State at Ohio State Betting Storylines
MSU probably needs to get to 18 wins to assure itself of an at-large berth in the NCAAs. A big problem for Sparty has been depth this season, which wasn’t helped by the dismissal of Korie Lucious in the season. And with Durrell Summers being inconsistent, the burden usually falls on Green and Kalin Lucas. Both have stepped it up, with Green having at least a double-double in two of the past four games and Lucas scoring at least 20 points in four of the past five (22.8 points per game).
Michigan State might not have one of its key big men tonight to deal with Sullinger. Power forward Delvon Roe has not practiced since aggravating a knee injury in the final seconds of last Thursday's victory over Penn State and his status won't be decided until game time.
"(Roe) is a question mark, at best, for the game," Izzo said. "But if anybody can ever play, it would be him. He seems to be able to play through a lot of pain."
And Sparty has been terrible on the road this season. Its two road wins: at Chaminade and at Northwestern. Not exactly two powerhouses. In MSU’s last road game, the Spartans were embarrassed at Wisconsin, 82-56. It was the school’s second-worst Big Ten loss in the past 15 seasons and one-point short of its worst loss ever to Wisconsin.
OSU is almost unbeatable at home, having won 32 of its past 33 games at Value City Arena dating to last season. The Buckeyes are outscoring opponents by 25 ppg at home this year. No opponent has scored more than 66 points at Value City Arena this year. In Coach Thad Matta's seven seasons, they are 101-2 vs. unranked teams in Columbus. Look for Ohio State to try to get three-point stud Jon Diebler open more often -- he was only 1-for-3 behind the arc against Wisconsin.
Michigan State at Ohio State Betting Odds and Trends
Ohio State is a 13-point favorite, according to college basketball odds, with the total at 136. OSU is 16-0 at home and 6-7 ATS. Michigan State is 1-6 on the road and 2-5 ATS.
MSU is 1-9 ATS in its past 10 games.
OSU is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 vs. teams with a winning record.
The ‘under’ is 7-0 in MSU’s past seven following a win.
MSU is 6-1 ATS in the past seven at OSU.
The ‘over’ is 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings.
College Basketball Picks: Michigan State at Ohio State Predictions
The Buckeyes have won the past two meetings in the series, but MSU won in its last visit to Columbus in January 2009. In fact, since Matta became the OSU coach, Sparty has four wins at Value City Arena. It won’t be five, but I do think MSU will give a game effort with five days to prepare. Definitely monitor whether Roe players, however. Take MSU and the points if Roe can go and the ‘under’.
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