There's a heckuva' race going on in the Big Ten, in case you haven't noticed. Five of the 12 teams in the conference remain in the chase for at least a share of first place, and the issue isn't likely to be settled until the final buzzer sounds on the regular season. So which side should we be taking for our college basketball picks?
One of the B1G squads in that battle is among our stops on Thursday's college basketball picks of the day card. A layover in the Midwest is also on the tour as a top 10 team can sew up a conference crown with a victory, and we conclude our journey out west where another crew is possibly on the verge of choking away an outright title of their own. All three games are rematches from earlier this season, bringing the revenge factor into each contest.
Buckeyes Begin Final Road Trip At Penn State
The first outfit seeking a little revenge Thursday night is Ohio State, as the Buckeyes start their final Big Ten road trip at the Penn State Nittany Lions. ESPN2 will televise the action from Bryce Jordan Center starting at 7 PM (ET), and OSU is 6 point chalk with totals yet to appear on SBR's live college basketball odds.
The Buckeyes have a very tenuous hold on fourth in the Big Ten standings, sitting just a half-game ahead of Iowa and a dull game behind Wisconsin in third. The Hawkeyes are also in action this evening, playing at Indiana and looking to snap a 2-game skid. The top four in the regular season standings will get a 1st-round bye in the conference tourney.
Ohio State (22-6 straight up, 15-12 against the spread) has won three straight, and six of seven since dropping a 71-70 overtime decision in Columbus at the end of January. Favored by 13 in that matchup, the Buckeyes let an 11-point lead with eight minutes remaining in regulation get away from them, losing to the Nittany Lions for the first time in 18 games since Thad Matta was hired as OSU head coach.
DJ Newbill was the star for Penn State (13-14 SU, 12-12 ATS) in that upset, hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the final 70 seconds of regulation to force overtime before canning a short jumper to win it with two seconds to go in extended play. The Nittany Lions followed that game with a win over Purdue to run their win streak to three, but have lost four of five since then.
College Basketball Pick: Ohio State -6
Billikens Aim To Continue Spotless A-10 Record
The Saint Louis Billikens are enjoying a tremendous season, though few people may know it since they're practically invisible to the mainstream media. The experienced Billikens look to extend their win streak to 20 Thursday when they can claim at least a share of the Atlantic 10 title at home against the Duquesne Dukes.
Tip at Chaifetz Arena is set for a little past 8 PM (ET) with NBC Sports providing the broadcast. Saint Louis went out -15.5 on the NCAA basketball odds.
Duquesne (11-15 SU, 10-5-2 ATS) gave SLU a tough go of it when the teams met Jan. 22 in Pittsburgh, solving the usually-tough Billikens D with a 50% shooting performance, one of only two teams to score that well against them this season. The Dukes have lost six of their last seven, but covered the most recent three spreads.
Saint Louis (25-2 SU, 9-15 ATS) has failed to cash the last four times out and six of the last eight. The Billikens' last six have ended with a 6-point margin of victory of less, and part of the recent problem covering spreads has occurred at the free throw line where they've shot less than 60% the past three games (52-of-87) compared to better than 72% before that stretch.
College Basketball Pick: Duquesne +15.5
'Zags Look To Finally Lock Up WCC Crown
A 4-game West Coast Conference lead with four to go has now dwindled to 2 & two for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. Mark Few's crew will attempt to claim the regular season crown as their 4-game season-ending road trip carries on at the Pacific Tigers. ESPNU will air the contest at 10 PM (ET) from Spanos Center in Stockton, CA, and the 'Dogs are favorites in this fight at -6.
This trip began for Gonzaga (23-6 SU, 13-14 ATS) with a loss last Thursday at BYU, 73-65 as 3 point road 'dogs, and continued Saturday in San Diego with a 69-66 setback to the Toreros who were getting 7.5 on the NCAA odds. It's the first time the Bulldogs have lost two consecutive games this season, and a third means they have to go to Saint Mary's on Saturday with the regular season WCC title still in doubt.
Pacific (14-13 SU, 16-10 ATS) will be looking to stop a 3-game slide and avenge a 22-point whipping in Moraga back on Jan. 4. It's only the second time the schools have met as conference foes, and sixth ever matchup, the Tigers' only win in this series was way back in 1976 in the second get-together with the Bulldogs.
College Basketball Pick: Gonzaga -6
Season: 42-32-4 (+6.8)