Only one clash between ranked teams is on Thursday’s NCAA basketball betting slate, and it has fans and bettors alike anxious as the Ohio State Buckeyes hit the road for a Big Ten showdown at the Wisconsin Badgers. Here is all you need to know for your college basketball picks.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers
Thursday, January 13, 2022 – 07:00 PM EST at Kohl Center
A rematch from a December collision at Ohio State, Wisconsin looks to atone for that loss with the Buckeyes and Badgers currently tied for 3rd in the Big Ten. That remains Wisconsin’s only loss and the Buckeyes have long been very rude hosts to teams visiting Kohl Center. Ohio State will be looking to avoid its second straight road loss of the campaign.
By pulling off a 71-69 win at the last second Wednesday night against Minnesota, Michigan State moved into a tie atop the conference standings with Illinois, each with 5-0 Big Ten records. Ohio State and Wisconsin are a game back with 4-1 marks entering tonight’s game.
OSU Seeking 3rd-Straight Win Over UW
The Badgers opened -2½ for the prime-time matchup on ESPN2, but overnight action pushed them up to -3. Likewise, the total has also moved up from 138½ to 139 for a matchup between a pair of programs that have trended to the ‘over’ on the season.
My first thought when seeing this matchup on my college basketball picks assignment sheet was how great the rivalry between the Buckeyes and Badgers was when Thad Matta and Bo Ryan were at the helm of the respective programs. It’s still a great rivalry, but Chris Holtmann and Greg Gard just don’t have the same pizazz as the coaching matchup between Matta and Ryan.
Ohio State certainly had the most pizazz when the clubs met in Columbus back in December. A 12-0 run midway through the first half propelled the Buckeyes to a 73-55 decision as 5-point home chalk. Ohio State shot 50% from the field and easily won the rebounding battle 49-28, and the Badgers never could find their mark from 3-point range.
It was Ohio State’s second consecutive win in the series after Wisconsin won and covered six of the previous eight matchups. The December clash never made it to the totals, but the last five meetings in Madison all went ‘over’ the marks. Last year’s only contest was at Kohl Center where the Buckeyes came away with a 74-62 upset as 5½-point underdogs at the NCAAB odds.
Buckeyes' Shooters on Fire in Win Over NW
Holtmann’s ballers will be playing their third game away from Columbus in the last four trips to the floor, and life away from Value City Arena has been so-so with a 3-3 record in true road tilts or neutral-site affairs. The good news is the Buckeyes will be home for three in a row beginning this Sunday, and three very winnable games against Penn State, IUPUI, and Nebraska.
Ohio State never trailed last Sunday when Northwestern came to town, but the Buckeyes also never could really put the Wildcats away. The 95-87 final was just enough to cover the 7½-point spread at BetOnline, and did so by the grace of four late free throws from the Buckeyes for the final points of the game.
It was about as good of an offensive performance the Buckeyes have enjoyed this season, hitting nearly 57% from the field and 44% from beyond the arc all while netting 26-of-27 from the free-throw line. A few days earlier at Indiana, the Buckeyes stunk it up at old Assembly Hall in a 67-51 loss to the Hoosiers by connecting on about 30% from everywhere on the court.
Badgers Among Nation’s Worst From Beyond the Arc
Gard’s gang rebounded very nicely from the whipping in Columbus by winning their five subsequent contests. Three of those were conference collisions, and two were on the road like last trip to College Park where the Badgers were 1-point underdogs at the top-rated sportsbooks and narrowly avoided blowing a massive 21-point lead in a 70-69 triumph over Maryland.
Wisconsin went nearly six minutes in the first half to let the Terrapins back in the game, but it still wound up in the straight-up and against the spread win columns. One facet of the game Ryan stressed when he was in Madison remains the same as the Badgers lead the country with only 8.2 turnovers a contest. The flip side to that gold star is the horrible results from beyond the arc where the Badgers rank 320th (29.6%).
Kohl Center is always a tough venue for visitors, and in the past my college basketball pick would’ve been on a low-scoring, physical battle. It still might be physical, but points should be aplenty on Thursday.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.