Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 1:30 PM EST.
Second Round NCAA Men's Basketball Tournement - Taco Bell Arena - Boise, Idaho
7:45 PM EST. There was a time when the Bulldogs were a plucky bracket-busting mid-major, but over the last two decades, head coach Mark Few has done everything he can to make this program into a real college hoops powerhouse. Gonzaga is now a mainstay in the market after its 10th straight victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. However, this year was tougher than most, as Gonzaga had its hands full with UNC Greensboro and actually trailed 64-62 with just 1:48 remaining. A long two from guard Josh Perkins tied it up, while redshirt freshman Zach Novell Jr. nailed the go-ahead three to seal it, but despite the victory, the 'Zags looked very vulnerable. The Bulldogs play with a "just find a way to win" mentality, but that will not serve them well, as they take a big step up in competition today.
When the season started, not many had these Buckeyes making this tournament. Ohio State was picked to finish 11th in the Big Ten according to Sports Illustrated but far exceeded those expectations after a 15-4 run in the conference that saw them finish second only to Michigan State, which was the consensus favorite in the preseason. The Buckeyes had far less trouble with South Dakota State in the first round then the 8-point margin of victory may have you believe, as that game was never in doubt. The late run from the Rabbits that allowed them to cover (depending on what number you got) never actually put the winner of the game in doubt. Unlike many of these cross-country inter-conference matchups, Ohio State and Gonzaga played this season way back at the PK80 in Portland in a game that left the Buckeyes licking their wounds after getting blasted 86-59 on a neutral court. That near 30-point defeat is carrying a ton of weight in the market, but don't overvalue the results of a game that was played four months ago. The Zags shot an otherworldly 58.5% from the field that night, including 12-of-25 3-pointers. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes shot a season-low 34.5% in what was their most lopsided loss of the year. This is a much different Ohio State team that is better now for taking its lumps back then. The wrong team is favored here, and we intend to take advantage. Give us OSU outright.
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Ohio St +162 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.24)