Arch rivals from the Big Ten meet in NCAA basketball betting action on Saturday, when the Michigan Wolverines play host to the Ohio State Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes probably can’t afford more than maybe one or two more losses for the rest of the season if they hope to be a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. The team was able to smash the Minnesota Golden Gophers just a few days after suffering its fourth loss of the year at the hands of the Michigan State Spartans at home. The team has played well on the road this year, dropping to just the Illinois Fighting Illini, though the argument could be made that this is the toughest test of the year to date. Jared Sullinger is still going to be the tough man to match up against. He is good for 17.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game, though he doesn’t seem to be having the same sort of impact on the defensive end of the court this year that he did a season ago. William Buford and Aaron Craft still make up a fantastic backcourt, while Deshaun Thomas is still a freak of nature athletically and is averaging 14.2 points per game. The bench, as always, is still weak for Ohio State, but the talent in that starting five is out of this world.
Michigan has to feel good about where it is sitting this year. Though it really doesn’t have a lot of those eye-popping wins, it has stayed consistent and probably would be in the Top 4 lines of the NCAA Tournament if it started today. The Wolverines have had a full week off to prepare for this game, which has to be considered a huge advantage, especially without losing a day to travel. The offense hasn’t scored more than 70 points in a game for Big Blue in quite some time, but the defense has more than made up for the blunders on the other side of the court. This unit ranks No. 33 in the country, allowing just 60.5 points per game. The Wolverines are led by Tim Hardaway, Jr., a man that has ice water running through his veins when he needs to. He and Trey Burke are good for 28.3 points per game between them. Rebounding the basketball is tough at times, as no one is averaging more than 5.3 boards per game, but the team as a whole is a good rebounding unit. Then again, most days, you don’t have Jared Sullinger sucking up nine or 10 boards against you either.
The Final Word: There is going to be a lot of action on the Wolverines in this one, but we just don’t see it happening. Ohio State is clearly the better team, and though it had some terrible trouble against the Michigan State defense at home last weekend, we think that all of the problems are going to be resolved. There’s a reason that this was such a one-sided battle when these two teams met in Columbus.
Ohio State Buckeyes @ Michigan Wolverines Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.