NCAA Basketball Picks: Wisconsin vs. Ohio State

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, January 29, 2013 4:17 PM GMT

The Wisconsin Badgers will close out one of their toughest six-game spans in school history, as they prepare to face a ranked team for the fifth time during that stretch. Let’s find out if you should fade them against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena.


Quite a stretch

Wisconsin snapped a two-game losing streak by picking up a 45-44 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers as 3.5-point home favorites Saturday, while going UNDER the total for the sixth time in seven contests. The Badgers have played more ranked teams than any other school in the country, as they’ve compiled an even 3-3 record in that situation, including a 3-1 mark versus Big Ten Conference opponents.

Quietly taking care of business

Ohio State isn’t getting as much publicity as Indiana and Michigan from the national media, but the program has won four of its last five games, including a convincing 65-51 triumph over the Penn State Nittany Lions as 13-point road favorites last time out. The Buckeyes are 4-3 against the spread (ATS) when facing conference foes this year, while the UNDER is 6-1 in that situation.

Getting after it defensively

Sports bettors may find the Badgers as an attractive option when making their NCAA basketball picks Tuesday night, but they’ll have a hard time scoring points at Value City Arena, with the Buckeyes holding conference foes to 30.3 percent shooting in three home games.

Wisconsin is 13-0 when shooting a higher percentage than an opponent this year, while going 1-6 when failing to do so. It’s also important to note that the program is 85-1 in its last 86 games when finishing with a better field goal percentage than the team its facing.

Thomas is the player to watch

Deshaun Thomas leads the Big Ten Conference in averaging 20.0 points per game, which provides the Buckeyes the biggest offensive threat in this high-profile affair. The junior forward combined to score 39 points in two meetings against the Badgers last year, but he’s coming off a lackluster 11-point performance on 4 of 13 shooting versus the Nittany Lions. Expect a bounce-back outing in Columbus from the All-American. 

Ryan must be respected

The Badgers deserve the respect that they are getting from the college basketball odds makers, considering they’ve compiled a 64-63 road record in Big Ten play during the Bo Ryan era, which is the best mark of any team over the last 12-plus seasons. Wisconsin is 14-8 in this series during his tenure in Madison, including a 5-4 mark at this facility.

[gameodds]14/218974/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Buckeyes as one of their sports picks this evening, as the favorite has covered the spread in five of the last six meetings in this series. Ohio State has also come away with the cash in 17 of its last 25 home games dating back to last year.

NCAA Basketball Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -6.5