Big Ten Basketball Picks: Northwestern Wildcats at #13 Ohio State Buckeyes

Northwestern Wildcats at #13 Ohio State Buckeyes
Thursday, February 14, 2013, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: Big Ten Network
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
Opening Line: Ohio State -16
Current Line: Ohio State -17
Opening Total: 124
Current Total: 123
Opening Money Line: Ohio St -2775 
/ Northwestern +1725
Current Money Line: Ohio St -3240 / Northwestern +2010

Ohio St is a huge favorite at home against Northwestern.The Buckeyes have lost 2 straight games.
Ohio St is a huge favorite at home against Northwestern.The Buckeyes have lost 2 straight games.

Next month is the 75th NCAA tournament. Northwestern remains the only team in one of the power six conferences yet to ever qualify for the NCAA tournament. The Wildcats are 13-11 this season and will have a hard time making the tournament unless they win the Big Ten Tournament. They will face a stiff test as they travel to the #13 Ohio St Buckeyes who are 17-6. Ohio St is 7-4 in conference and Northwestern is 4-7. The Buckeyes are in fifth place in the conference but can move into a tie for fourth with Michigan with a win against Northwestern. The Wildcats are near the bottom of the conference stands ahead of only Nebraska and Penn State.

Ohio St leads the series against Northwestern 111-45, including 65-14 in Columbus. The Buckeyes have won 28 straight games in Columbus in the series, and 17 of the last 18 overall. Ohio St has six straight wins over Northwestern. This is the first meeting between the schools this year, but they will meet 2 weeks from today in Evanston.

Northwestern is coached by Bill Carmody. The Wildcats have losses to Maryland, Illinois-Chicago, Butler, Stanford, Michigan, at Minnesota, Iowa, Indiana, at Nebraska, at Michigan, and at Iowa Saturday 71-57. Northwestern has key wins over TCU and Illinois St in a tournament in South Padre Island, Texas, at Baylor, Brown, at Penn St, at Illinois, Minnesota, and Purdue. The Wildcats are 11-10 ATS and and the total is 8-8-1 this season.

Northwestern is outscoring teams 64-62 this season. The Wildcats are shooting 41.5% from the field and 35% from 3 point range. Northwestern makes 66% of their free throws. The Wildcats average 32.2 rebounds per game and give up 33.3 per game. Northwestern opponents are shooting 41.5% from the field and 33.8% from 3 point range. The Wildcats average 15 assists, 6 steals, 4 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Forward Jared Swopshire and guards Sanjay Lumpkin, JerShon Cobb, and Drew Crawford are all out for the season for the Wildcats. Center Alex Olah is doubtful with a concussion. Lumpkin and Cobb are role players, but the other three are 3 of the top 6 scorers for the Wildcats. Guard Reggie Hearn averages 14.2 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 assists, and 1.2 blocks per game. Dave Sobelewski averages 11 points, 4.2 assists, 2.8 rebounds, and a steal. Tre Demps averages 6.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Olah averages 6.1 points, 4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, and 1 block per game. Kale Abrahamson, Alex Marcotullio, and Mike Turner also get significant minutes.

Ohio St is coached by Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have losses at Duke, Illinois, Michigan St, and  Michigan, along with  home losses to Kansas and Indiana Sunday 81-68. The Buckeyes have lost 2 straight games after a 4 game winning streak. Ohio St has key wins over Rhode Island and Washington in a tournament in Connecticut, Long Beach St, Nebraska twice,  at Purdue, Michigan, Iowa, at Penn St, and Wisconsin. Ohio St is 12-8-1 ATS and the total is 9-11.

Ohio St is outscoring teams 72-59. The Buckeyes are #29 in points allowed. Ohio St is shooting 46% from the field and 372% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are in the top 50 nationally in both categories. Ohio St makes 69.8% of their free throws. The Buckeyes average 36.5 rebounds per game and give up 28.7 per game. Ohio St opponents are shooting 38.9% from the field and 32.6% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are 32nd in field goal percentage allowed. Ohio St averages 14 assists, 6 steals, 5 blocks, and 11 turnovers.

Forward Deshaun Thomas averages 20.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game. Guard Lenzelle Smith, Jr. averages 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Guard Aaron Craft averages 9.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. LaQuinton Ross averages 8.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game.  Sam Thompson averages 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. Evan Ravenel  averages 5.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. Shannon Scott averages 4.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Amir Williams averages 4.3 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.

Northwestern is 4-1 ATS after a straight up loss. The Wildcatsa re 5-2 ATS in the last 7 against Ohio St. The under is 10-4 in series recently including 5-2 in Columbus.

Ohio St is 4-0 ATS after failing to cover, 4-1 in Thursday games, and 8-3 after a straight up loss. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series recently.

Ohio will be angry after losing two straight games to Michigan and Indiana. A visit from a depleted Northwestern Wildcats should be just what eh doctor ordered. Ohio St should roll, but with the huge number, just be careful of the Wildcats hanging around.

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