College Basketball Picks: Ohio State at Indiana Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 12/30/2011
I was totally prepared to preview Saturday’s noon CBS game between Top-5 rivals Kentucky and Louisville – but then the Cardinals went and suffered their first loss of the season, falling by three at home to Georgetown on Wednesday (no shame in that, the Hoyas are good).
To the good folks of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, that didn’t lessen Saturday’s game a bit, but it really doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things as it’s a nonconference affair.
And I watched the wildly-entertaining Indiana-Michigan State game on Wednesday night, and that convinced me that the Hoosiers are indeed for real this season despite that loss (more on that below). It also convinced me that No. 15 IU can knock off No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday evening and hand the Buckeyes a very rare Big Ten loss.
Remember, the Hoosiers previously welcomed then-No. 1 Kentucky to Bloomington earlier this season and upset the Wildcats. That was the Big Ten’s first nonconference regular season victory over a No. 1 team since Dec. 1, 2004. Plus the later start time – 6 p.m. ET – usually means more betting action than a noon game if both are on national TV (IU-OSU on ESPN2).
Ohio State at Indiana Betting Storylines
In my opinion, OSU is really unbeaten – the Buckeyes’ lone loss came at Kansas when Jared Sullinger was out injured. The National Player of the Year candidate missed two games with back spasms and most of another with an injured ankle. But he appears to be getting his conditioning back as Sullinger had 17 points and 14 rebounds in Wednesday’s 87-54 destruction of what is a pretty good Northwestern team (trivia tidbit: Northwestern is only BCS conference team to never make an NCAA Tournament). William Buford was actually the star of that one with a career-high 28 points and five three-pointers.
Long-range shooting should be interesting here. OSU entered the week 11th in the Big Ten in three-pointers at 4.8 per game, but the Buckeyes were 10-for-20 from long range against Northwestern.
Indiana, meanwhile, leads the nation in three-point shooting at 45 percent and makes on average seven per game. However, in Wednesday’s 80-65 loss at Michigan State, which knocked Indiana from the ranks of the unbeaten (there are four remaining: Syracuse, Baylor, Missouri and Murray State), the Hoosiers were only 6-for-17 from long range.
That Sparty game was one of the most interesting of the season so far. IU was down 18 points in the first half only to have a 25-2 run to take a nine-point lead at 54-45. However, the Hoosiers didn’t score again until they were down 11 as MSU went on to win easily and cover. Freshman Hoosiers star Cody Zeller, a big reason IU was off to its start since 1976, had just four points.
It will be a great to see Zeller and Sullinger go at it. Among national freshman, Zeller is 17th in scoring (14.2 points per game), first in field goal percentage (65 percent), eighth in rebounds (6.9 per game) and eighth in steals (2.0 per game).
Ohio State has won each of the past six meetings in this series, including three straight in Bloomington. Last year the Buckeyes won by 18 (in Bloomington) and 21. As a ranked team, Ohio State is 18-11 in the series. Against ranked IU teams, Ohio State is 16-31. When both teams are ranked, the Buckeyes own a 5-7 record in the series.
Ohio State at Indiana Betting Odds and Trends
The Buckeyes opened as four-point favorites with the total at 139 on NCAA basketball odds. OSU is 5-4 ATS this year and 0-2 on road. Indiana is 7-1 ATS this season and 4-0 at home. ‘Over/under’ records: OSU 5-4, IU 5-3.
The Buckeyes are 0-5 ATS in past five Saturday games. The Hoosiers are 0-7 ATS in past seven Big Ten games. The ‘over’ has hit in 13 of OSU’s past 16 road games. The ‘under’ is 7-3 in IU’s past 10 at home. OSU is 7-0 ATS in the past seven meetings. The ‘over’ is 5-2 in past seven meetings.
College Basketball Picks: Ohio State at Indiana Betting Predictions
If this were in Columbus, the Buckeyes would be a lock as they never lose there. But I think Indiana has gotten to the point where it’s good enough to be able to beat anyone on its homecourt – just ask Kentucky.
Indiana will again likely be without forward Will Sheehey, who missed the MSU game with a sprained ankle. He’s the main cog off the IU bench, which had only 10 points against the Spartans. Sheehey is one of five Hoosiers scoring in double figures (10.7) and is the second-highest scoring non-starter in the Big Ten.
And I do worry a bit that the Hoosiers will be gassed after that back-and-forth against Michigan State, while OSU was on cruise control against Northwestern. But despite trying to talk myself out of this, I have to take Indiana and the points here because OSU has been just average in its two true road games. And the take the ‘over’.
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