By: Matthew Vale
Spread: Michigan -1.5, Total: 146.5
February 21st, 2021. 12:00 PM CST
Top 4 teams clash in Columbus as #4 Ohio State hosts #3 in Michigan in a game that has massive Big 10 title implications.
Ohio State Buckeyes (18-4, 12-4)
The Buckeyes are rolling and have now won 7 games in a row. Most recently Ohio State defeated Penn State by 10 in Happy Valley. At this point the Buckeyes are a tournament lock and if the can finish strong they do have a shot at a #1 seed in the Big 10 tournament. Ohio State has been one of the best offensive teams in the country coming into this game ranking 3rd in offensive efficiency according to Ken Pom. OSU has scored at least 70 points in every game on this winning streak. Their last two losses were the only times in 2021 that the Buckeyes have been held under 70 points. Ohio State is led by their talented duo of EJ Liddell and Duane Washington Jr. who are averaging 30 points combined per game.
Michigan Wolverines (15-1, 10-1)
Michigan was one of the hottest teams in the country at the turn of the calendar year and rose up to the top of the Big 10 standings. Then COVID hit and the Wolverines were forced to take a three week break. Many people were wondering if the Wolverines would be ok after the long layoff and Big Blue responded with a thunderous yes after a ferocious comeback at Wisconsin then a 7 point win over Rutgers. Similar to Ohio State, Michigan has an excellent chance to grab a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament if they can weather their intense schedule to close out the year. Michigan is one of the most balanced teams in the country ranking both 7th in offensive and defensive efficiency. The Wolverines are led by their terrific trio of Hunter Dickinson, Isaiah Livers, and Franz Wanger.
These are two arch rivals duking it out for Big 10 supremacy and to further stake their claim for a 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. Personally I think Michigan will win but it is really a toss up especially with Ohio State at home where they have only lost once all year and that was on a near buzzer beater to Purdue. For that reason let’s turn our attention to the total. I love the under in this one with the most glaring stat that 6 of Michigan’s last 7 games have gone under. Even though Ohio State’s totals are closer to the over most of the time, 6 of their last 9 games vs Michigan have gone under. I think this will be a hard fought game that both sides will try to lock down defensively, especially Michigan slowing down the Buckeye offense enough to win and keep the total under 146.5. Take under 146.5 for 1 unit.
Matthew’s college basketball record 20/21: 7-5