It’s a Trap! Ohio State, UConn Ripe For Upset Wins

Jay Pryce

Saturday, February 11, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2017 2:29 PM UTC

UConn is heating up and squaring off as an underdog against a Central Florida team it walloped in early January. Ohio State, meanwhile, seeks to avenge a home defeat to Maryland less than two weeks ago. Check out analysis on Saturday's two top trap games here.

Ohio State vs #21 Maryland

Maryland won the first meeting 77-71 at Value City Arena as a 3-point underdog just 12 days ago. Ohio State trailed for much of the game, cutting the Terps' lead to one point four times in the final seven minutes. It had no answer for Melo Trimble late, however. The junior guard, averaging 16.9 points per game, scored seven points in the final two minutes to secure victory. The win gave Maryland its best ever start through 22 games (20-2). Since, the program has lost two straight, including a 70-64 defeat at Penn State last time out.

Revenge and strong defense is a potent combo for an upset. Ohio State embodies the former, and is working on the latter. Despite Trimble’s late-game heroics in the previous matchup, the Buckeyes held him to only 13 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Stopping the star is key to winning. Three of the Terps’ four defeats have occurred when Trimble puts up fewer than his average on the season.

Since last year, Ohio State is 5-4 SU and ATS as a single-digit underdog on the road in conference play. Four of the outright upsets have come in five games against foes averaging less than 77 points per game on the season, including wins at Nebraska and Michigan this year. Maryland is scoring 75.1 per tilt.

The Buckeye defense, allowing 68.4 points per game, is the highest ever for a Thad Matta-coached squad in his 12 years in Columbus. He acknowledged the fact more than a week ago, and vowed to improve the unit. Expect a shutdown effort this afternoon with the possibility of a shock victory.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Buckeyes +7.5Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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Connecticut vs Central Florida

UConn was ranked No. 18 in the AP preseason poll. Overrated? Without a doubt. Head coach Kevin Ollie’s squad fell, and fell hard, going 5-9 SU and 2-9 ATS to open the season. A 64-49 thrashing of Central Florida on Jan. 8 changed its fortunes. The team is blossoming, going 6-3 SU and 5-4 ATS since. Offense and defense is better. The Huskies went from scoring 65.1 points per game to 72.3, and allowing 66.9 to a stifling 63.9 currently. Coming off their best performance of the season, beating South Florida 97-51 on Wednesday, Ollie’s men welcome the same opponent where the turn around all began.

The Huskies went off 2-point chalk in the first meeting, and are spotted 4 points for the rematch. Factoring in homecourt advantage, the line implies nearly nothing has changed between the two since. Not buying it. UConn is winning by 8.4 points per game at an average line of -1.3 points. Central Florida, 3-6 SU after visiting the XL Center, owns a -2.2 point differential while tipping off as 1.8-point dogs on average. Two teams going two different directions. Upset win is in the works.

Free NCAA Basketball Pick: Huskies +4Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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