Big 10 Showdown: Purdue -11.5 Our NCAA Basketball Pick Against Ohio State

Ted Sevransky

Thursday, January 21, 2016 7:17 PM UTC

Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016 7:17 PM UTC

Let's take a look at this late Big 10 matchup between the Ohio State Buckeyes & the Purdue Boilermakers, we break it down so we can get our wise NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Purdue -11.5
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek


Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Purdue Boilermakers
I want no part of Ohio State in any hostile environment against a quality foe right now. Their last two road games have been complete and utter disasters. Ohio State trailed by 30 at halftime at Indiana, unable to make plays on either end of the court to stem the Hoosiers run. 

Following a bounceback home win against hapless Rutgers, the Buckeyes went to Maryland last weekend and got annihilated again. The 35 point loss to the Terps (they trailed by as many as 44 in the second half) was the single worst loss of the entire 12 year Thad Matta era at Ohio State.

What’s going on?  Why are these Buckeyes getting annihilated by quality foes in road games while every other recent squad has been competitive? Simple – Ohio State is fundamentally different this year when it comes to experience and poise. Matta lost four key players following the 2014 campaign, and lost six more after their early exit from the NCAA Tournament last March. 

The end result of all of that roster depletion? Well, Ohio State has no seniors on the roster this year, and only one junior. That, folks, is as young as it gets at the NCAA level. And young teams like the Buckeyes often take time to jell and gain confidence, particularly on the highway.

This quote from Maryland star Melo Trimble following their win over the Buckeyes last week speaks volumes about where Ohio State is right now. “I could tell they’re not mature yet. They just let the game get away. They started putting their heads down, not being coachable, and when teams get like that, that’s when we’re supposed to take advantage.”

The Buckeyes power rating number hasn’t tumbled too far down, despite those recent ugly road losses. They are 4-2 in Big 10 play after all, and Ohio State did beat Kentucky earlier this year (another ridiculously young team) while hanging tough with Virginia. But any team that has shown a propensity for forgetting to play defense on the road (79 points per game allowed on 49% shooting) is in for a world of hurt when they head to West Lafayette to take on Purdue.

Matt Painter’s Boilermakers have been overshadowed by some of the other Big 10 heavyweights this year, much like last year and the year before. That’s a big part of the reason why Purdue has been such a good pointspread team: 22-9 against the NCAA basketball odds in their last 31 against Big 10 competition; 36-15 ATS in their last 51 lined games overall. Michigan State, Maryland, Iowa and Indiana get the hype, but Purdue’s backers get the money!

One reason why Purdue has been so successful ATS is because of their lack of ‘hyped’ star players. Coach Painter’s rotation goes ten deep, with all ten players averaging between 13 and 26 minutes per game without a ‘superstar’ to attract betting market attention.  The Boilermakers are big and physical, #1 in the country with a +12.8 rebounding margin.  They are patient on the offensive end of the court, averaging more than 18 assists per game, ranked #10 in the country in that key statistical category.  They hit their free throws at a 74% clip.  And they’re winning games by margin – all eleven home victories this year have come by a dozen points or more.  Expect #12 to come tonight! Take Purdue as the sharp NCAA basketball pick.

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