College Basketball Betting Preview: Ohio St Buckeyes at South Carolina Gamecocks

#2 Ohio St Buckeyes at South Carolina Gamecocks
Colonial Life Arena – Columbia, South Carolina
Saturday, December 17, 2011, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Opening Line: Ohio St -14 1/2
Current Line: Ohio St -14 1/2
Opening Total: 129 1/2
Current Total: 129 1/2
Opening Money Line: Ohio St -1400 / South Carolina +1000
Current Money Line: Ohio St -1400 / South Carolina +1000

Jared Sullinger leads the #2 Ohio St Buckeyes as they travel to South Carolina to take on the Gamecocks. The Buckeyes are 14.5 point favorites.

The 9-1 Ohio St Buckeyes are #2 in the country. The only loss came at Kansas last Saturday, but Ohio St was was playing without star forward Jared Sullinger in that game. Sullinger returned after missing the previous two games with back spasms as the Buckeyes crushed hapless South Carolina Upstate 82-58. The Buckeyes have home wins over Florida and Duke this season. Now the Buckeyes, coached by Thad Matta,  take on their second straight Palmetto State foe as they travel to Columbia to take on the 4-5 South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina is coached by Darrin Horn. The Gamecocks have losses at Elon, home losses to Tennessee St and Providence, and losses in Las Vegas to North Carolina and Southern California. The best win is over instate rival Clemson. Ohio St leads the series 2-1 against South Carolina including a 79-57 win last year in Columbus.

Ohio St is outscoring opponents 81-56 this season, but the Buckeyes have played a somewhat soft schedule so far outside of Florida, Duke, and Kansas. The Buckeyes are shooting 50.2% from the field including 32.9% from 3 point range. Ohio St makes 69.5% of their free throws. The Buckeyes average 36.7 rebounds a game, and has a rebounding margin of +7.3. Ohio St averages 18.5 points, 11.5 turnovers, 9.3 steals, and 2.2 blocks a game. Buckeye opponents are shooting 40.8% from the field, including 34.1% from 3 point range. Ohio St is forcing 20 turnovers a game, and opponents only average 9 assists a game.

Sullinger averages 18.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.4 steals a game. He leads the Buckeyes in scoring and rebounding, and blocks as well, but he only averages 0.6 a game. Guard William Buford averages 16.3 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.3 assists a game. He is shooting 41.7% from 3 point range. Forward Deshaun Thomas averages 14.5 points and 3.9 rebounds a game. Point guard Aaron Craft averages 9.5 points, 3 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 3 steals a game. He leads the team in  steals and assists.

South Carolina is being outscored 63.1 to 62.8 this season. The Gamecocks are shooting 41.7% from the field including 30.2% from 3 point range. USC makes 67.9% of their free throws. The Gamecocks average 34.8 rebounds, and have a rebounding margin of +3.8. South Carolina averages 10.6 assists, 13.3 turnovers, 7 steals, and 5.7 blocks a game. Gamecock opponents are shooting 43.6% from the field, including 42.2% from 3 point range. The Gamecocks force 13.8 turnovers a game.

South Carolina forward Malik Cooke averages 12.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 2 steals, and a block a game. He leads the team in scoring and steals.  Anthony Gill averages 8.6 points, 5.3 rebounds to lead the team, and 1.4 assists a game. Eric Smith averages 7.8 points, 1.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists a game. Smith is shooting 46.7% from 3 point range. Bruce Ellington averages 7.5 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists a game. Damontre Harris leads the team in blocks with 2.2 a game. Lakeem Jackson leads the team in assists with 2.2  a game. Guard Brenton Williams is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

South Carolina is 2-5 against the spread and the total is 3-4 this season. Ohio St is 3-2 ATS and the total is also 3-2 this season. The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS as a favorite of 13 points or more, 6-2 as a favorite, 8-3 as a road favorite, and in non-conference games, 11-5 after a win by 20 points or more, and 0-4 in Saturday games. The Gamecocks are 4-1 ATS against Big Ten teams, 3-7 at home, 4-10 as a home underdog, 1-4 at home against teams with losing road records, 1-5 in non-conference games, as an underdog of 13 points or more, and overall, 1-7 in Saturday games, and 0-5 following a straight up win.

The last time South Carolina played a top 5 team, it was Thanksgiving weekend in Las Vegas against then #1 North Carolina. The Tar Heels destroyed them 87-62. Ohio St might even more loaded North Carolina. This could get ugly in a hurry for South Carolina, as I look for the Buckeyes to roll.

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