NCAA Basketball Picks: Bet Michigan State to Cover Against Ohio State as Tom Izzo Looks for Statement Win

David Lawrence

Friday, February 13, 2015 11:54 AM GMT

The Ohio State Buckeyes have received a very welcome piece of news in advance of their Saturday college basketball betting matchup against the Michigan State Spartans. Will it matter for them, or will Michigan State respond with a strong performance and stop the Bucks in their tracks?

The Ohio State Buckeyes Can Win Because…
The Buckeyes are getting an important player back on the floor for this game. Marc Loving has missed the last three games for disciplinary reasons. Loving is a double-figure scorer, averaging 11.7 points per game and nearly four rebounds per contest as well. Loving is hitting 49 percent of his field goal attempts, and 53 percent of a limited amount of three-point shots (79 for the season in 22 games, an average of roughly 3.6 threes attempted per game). He’s an efficient player, just not an imposing one. However, he gives Ohio State and head coach Thad Matta a valuable extra piece in the lineup, someone to complement the team’s leading scorer, D’Angelo Russell, who averages just over 19 points per game.

Another big reason why Ohio State is in position to not only cover the posted college basketball odds, but win this game outright, is that Michigan State is simply struggling. The Spartans might not make the NCAA tournament this season – they’ve fallen that far and that hard this season. Michigan State just doesn’t shoot the ball consistently. The Spartans will have a great game such as what they did this past Tuesday against Northwestern, hitting 52 percent of their three-point shots in an easy 24-point win. However, Michigan State’s previous game against Illinois last Saturday was a nightmare. The Spartans hit under 39 percent of their field goal attempts and were just 7 of 18 from the free-throw line. Michigan State ranks last out of all 14 Big Ten teams in free-throw shooting, a terrible thing in a close game, and this is expected to be a close game.

 

The Michigan State Spartans Can Win Because…
The Spartans will be desperate to win this game, because they know how important it is for their chances of making the NCAA tournament. Michigan State’s resume is very much on the bubble. The Spartans lost a home game to Texas Southern, the kind of bad loss which would normally affect this team in terms of a seed line or two. However, Michigan State didn’t win a sinHahagle big non-conference game this season. Usually, the team wins at least one game and makes sure it has a strong resume going into Big Ten play. That did not happen this season. Michigan State has to get this win to feel somewhat comfortable about its prospects, and even then, the Spartans have a lot of tough road games ahead. You know coach Tom Izzo will have his team motivated.

The other thing to point out about this game is that Ohio State, while losing just once at home this season, has lost five road or neutral-court games. Ohio State is 3-5 away from home, and the three wins are all against teams that will surely not make the NCAA tournament: Minnesota, Northwestern, and Rutgers. Michigan State is a better team than those three.

 

Outlook
In the end, it is hard to think that Michigan State won’t eventually make the NCAA tournament. Tom Izzo deserves the benefit of the doubt in a big home game. Take the Spartans with your NCAA basketball picks.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Michigan State