The Wisconsin Badgers close out their regular season on the road with a NCAA Basketball odds battle at Ohio State where the Buckeyes look to score an upset for their 4th-straight win.
Seven ranked teams took a hit in the loss column on Saturday, including a trio of top 10 squads in Virginia, Kansas and Wichita State. At least one more ranked team will fall on Sunday when the No. 6 Wisconsin Badgers travel to Columbus to meet the No. 23 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Tip-off on Senior Day at Value City Arena is a little past 4:30 PM (ET), CBS handling the broadcast chore with its A-team of Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery along with the lovely Tracy Wolfson courtside. Wisconsin was introduced on the NCAA basketball odds as 1 point chalk, but there was enough action overnight to inflate that to -1½ by Sunday morning.
It's the 154th meeting in the series that Ohio State leads, 86-67. The Buckeyes have won the last two and three of the last four, covering each victory, totals running 1-3 Over/Under in that span.
The schools are meeting on the hardwood for the first time this year, the third consecutive Big Ten schedule that has only matched them up one time during the regular season. Thad Matta and the Buckeyes pulled off the upset in Madison a season ago, coming on strong at the end of the game for the 59-58 decision.
Badgers Look To Polish Resume In Hopes Of No. 1 Seed
Bo Ryan and Wisconsin (27-3 straight up, 15-14-1 against the spread) find themselves in a fight for one of the No. 1 seeds remaining behind Kentucky in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Virginia's loss on Saturday at Louisville should send Duke into the No. 2 slots of the polls when they're released Monday, leaving the Badgers to jostle with the Cavaliers, Villanova, Arizona and Gonzaga for the next two seeds in the eyes of the committee who will meet a week from now to decide the Field of 68.
Wisconsin has already claimed the top spot in the bracket for the Big Ten Tournament, officially wrapping that up Thursday at Minnesota with a 78-63 victory to sweep the Golden Gophers this campaign. Favored by seven at the closing bell, Frank Kaminsky scored 25 while Sam Dekker added 20 in a very efficient Badgers performance that hurdled a scoreboard tally of 132 to stop a run of three away games for Wisconsin that fell short of the totals.
Buckeyes Tough To Beat In Columbus
Matta has Ohio State (22-8 SU, 14-14-1 ATS) on an upward tick as the regular season draws to a close. The Buckeyes have won their last three, covering two of those triumphs, and a victory today would leave them in a 4-way tie for third place in the conference with Michigan State, Iowa and Purdue. They're ahead of the Hawkeyes and Boilermakers in RPI and in front of all three on the latest BPI chart.
Winning on the road is never easy, but it's especially tough for any team coming to Columbus to take on OSU. The Buckeyes lead the nation since the 2009-10 season with a 106-9 record at home, and they're 18-1 at Value Center Arena this season, the only setback in the conference opener vs. Iowa on December 30.
Matta needs one win to move to the very top of the all-time Ohio State coaching chart. Victory No. 298 on this stop in his career would also be No. 400 overall for the only person to be named Coach of the Year in the Horizon League, Atlantic 10 and Big Ten.
Taking the Buckeyes plus points at home for my free NCAA Basketball Picks is awfully tempting, but I've got much stronger feelings for the final score never reaching the total.
NCAA Basketball Pick: Wisconsin-Ohio State Under 129.5
Season: 64-57-2 (+1.3)