NCAA Basketball Spread: Off
It might not be the same as the college football rivalry between these two, but there is certainly no love between the Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball teams. Both of these teams come into this game ranked in the top 25. Michigan is a program on the rise, but the Buckeyes are still seen as the team to beat in the Big Ten. Let’s break down this matchup between the league’s biggest rivals.
John Beilein has done a great job with the Wolverines. Michigan was a program looking for a direction just a few short years ago, and now they are a real factor in the Big Ten race. The Wolverines picked up a win in the NCAA Tournament last year, and they are looking for even more this season. Many expected Michigan to struggle in the backcourt this year since Darius Morris decided to go pro, but freshman Trey Burke has stepped in and been exceptional. Burke will have a bit of a homecoming in this game since he is from Columbus, Ohio. Burke has almost a two to one assist to turnover ratio, and he is the team’s second leading scorer at 14.1 points per game.
Tim Hardaway Jr. has some of the same skills that his father had, and he is the team’s leading scorer at 15.2 points per game. Zack Novak is a glue guy who hustles on every play, and he is a great emotional team leader. Michigan lives and dies by the three-ball. The Wolverines put up more three-point attempts than anyone else in the Big Ten. Defensively, the Wolverines are giving up just 61 points per game.
Ohio State has stubbed its toe a few times on the road this year, but they have been showing just how talented they are of late. The Buckeyes are the most dangerous team in the Big Ten. Thad Matta continues to bring in terrific recruits, and this team is deeper than any recent Ohio State team has been. Jared Sullinger is the main man for this team. Sullinger leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. He has developed a better outside jumper this year, and he has raised his free throw percentage to 75%.
Aaron Craft might not be a major scorer, but he is crucial to this team’s success. Craft is an excellent point guard who is a major pest on the defensive end. On the offensive end, he averages five assists per game. William Buford has struggled with his shot some this year, but is a natural scorer who can heat up in a hurry. DeShaun Thomas is putting up almost 15 per contest this year, and he is shooting 54.4% from the floor. Ohio State is much better on the defensive end than most people realize. Opponents shoot just 39% from the floor against the Buckeyes. The team gives up only 55.9 points per game. The Buckeyes are great at controlling the defensive glass.
Michigan will try to slow the game down, but the Buckeyes have the better defense. Look for Ohio State to get it to Sullinger early and often in a nice win here.
Prediction: Ohio State 74 Michigan 62 – For more free picks checkout BTB Cappers Here
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