Upset Alert: More Talented Kent State Our NCAA Basketball Pick vs. Ohio

Willie Bee

Friday, January 29, 2016 1:57 PM GMT

It's a short Friday night card once again, but there are several key matchups including a MAC battle between Kent State and Ohio. We've got your preview and free NCAA basketball pick.

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NCAA Basketball Pick: Kent State +2 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

In another couple of weeks, we'll start to see some Pac-12 action creep into the Friday schedule. Until then, we're left to pick our own poison when looking for Friday games that have both relevance to conference standings, potential tournament seeding and value on the college basketball betting card.

One of those contests tonight finds the Kent State Golden Flashes on the road taking on the Ohio Bobcats in a 9 PM (ET) tip. 5Dimes has the Bobcats -2 on their home floor, 151 the hurdle for totals bettors to ponder.

 

Flashes Take Aim at 5th-Straight Win In Series
These two teams are meeting for the second time this month, the first taking place a little less than two weeks ago in Kent. The game was tied at 46 apiece with about 15 minutes remaining, but Kent State went on an 11-0 run to grab control of the contest en route to an 89-82 triumph that was just enough to beat a -5½ point spread on the NCAA basketball odds.

Jaylin Walker scored six of those 11 points during the decisive stretch, finishing with 16 off the bench and connecting on half of his six 3-point attempts. Jimmy Hall recorded a double-double (15 points, 10 rebounds) for the Golden Flashes while Xavier Pollard and Kellon Thomas scored 23 and 20, respectively. Kent State committed just seven turnovers compared to 15 for the Bobcats, and the Flashes outscored Ohio 27-20 at the charity stripe.

The victory was the fourth straight for Kent State, but still left Ohio with a commanding 91-48 lead in the rivalry. The combined 171 points were the most the two schools had tallied since an overtime clash during the 2010-11 season, and stopped a 4-game run for 'under' bettors. Five of the last seven meetings in Athens fell short of the marks.

 

Bobcats Beginning Difficult 3-Game Homestand
On the heels of last year's regular season title in the MAC, Kent State (15-5 straight up, 8-7-1 against the spread) has risen to the top of the East Division thanks to five consecutive victories. Not only have the Golden Flashes won on the court, they've also covered the last four spreads despite some off-shooting performances in the past two wins.

Rob Senderoff's squad downed Eastern Michigan on Tuesday, 73-58, to easily beat the -5½ line that closed at most sports books. Khaliq Spicer led the way with 21 points and 13 boards, his first double-double of the season, adding a season-high five blocks to his linescore. Foul trouble cost several Eagles valuable minutes on the floor and EMU could only manage to net 19-of-64 from the field.

Ohio (12-7 SU, 9-6 ATS) sits three games back in the East after winning two of three since the loss at Kent State. Friday collision with the Golden Flashes begins a very tough 3-game home stretch during which the Bobcats will face Akron, currently second in the East Division, and Northern Illinois, present tops in the West.

Saul Phillips' charges are coming home from a mild upset at Toledo this past Tuesday, eking out an 81-79 decision as 7 point underdogs. Ohio raced to a 20-point lead midway through the first half, and also held a 20-point advantage with 14:50 remaining in the second half before the Rockets caught fire. Kenny Kaminski scored a game-high 22 for the Bobcats while Jaaron Simmons had his third double-double of the year with 12 points and a whopping 17 assists.

Kent State's Walker, who was so key in the first meeting, is questionable this evening with an injured foot. he suffered in a win at Bowling Green last week. That's going to leave Senderoff's bench a little thin, assuming Walker can't go, though I still think the Golden Flashes have enough talent to win without the points for my free NCAA basketball pick.