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Purdue vs. Ohio State Pick NCAA – March 1st

Yesterday’s enormous slate of college hoops action didn’t disappoint. For starters, a few top seed teams reminded everyone exactly WHY they will be perched atop the Bracket in two weeks, and none more so than Kentucky. More than a few media outlets posited that Kentucky was about to get a legitimate test. Vegas knew better. Kentucky was a 15 point favorite and covered the line with ease. They ended up winning by 18 but the game and cover was never really in doubt. Likewise, Duke and Villanova passed tough conference tests with flying colors.

The biggest bracket moves likely occurred out west. Arizona locked up the Pac 12 championship by completing the season sweep over Utah while Gonzaga dropped a home game to BYU. The win likely puts BYU in the tourney mix, but also likely leapfrogs Arizona over the Zags in the race for the top seed out west. Don’t forget Arizona also owns a head-up one point win over Gonzaga.

The Arizona win salvaged a rough start of the day for me after dropping NC State (how on earth do you lose to BC after beating UNC and L’ville on the road??) and Northern Iowa being unable to cover at Wichita State. I was on the fence all morning as to whether to give out St. John’s or NC State as my early day pick – and definitely selected wrong…

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Let’s see if we can make Sunday a winning day.

Today’s Free Pick:

Purdue Boilermakers at Ohio State Buckeyes -8.5

Purdue, despite their 11-4 Big Ten record continues to remain on most Bracketologists’ Bubble. It seems like nothing they do in one of the nation’s best conferences is enough to erase the bitter taste of losses to Gardner Webb and North Florida and Vanderbilt. (Forget the fact the North Florida is tied for their conference lead and that Vandy has developed into a decent ballclub). Suffice it to say a win today in Columbus should FINALLY put those bad losses to rest.

But it won’t be easy. Ohio State has been excellent at home this season, posting a 16-1 record at home. Their only home loss came to Iowa on New Year’s Eve. They’ve blown out their last six home opponents, winning every single game by no less than 16 points. They’ve trounced Indiana, Michigan, Maryland and Illinois, all similar teams to Purdue quality-wise.

Back to the Boilermakers. They’ve won eight of their last nine games and covered in eight of them as well. However, they have only beaten one legit team on the road, Indiana. It’ll be a tough ask today. Purdue has held their last five opponents to 39% shooting from the floor. Ohio State shoots an insane 55% at home and is averaging 83.4 ppg. They’ve outscored their opponents in their last five games by more than 10 points and outshot them by 8.1%.

It’s hard to explain, but Ohio State is an average team when they get off a plane or a bus, and a top ten team in the country when at home. They beat Maryland by 24, Michigan by 19, Illinois by 16 – simply dominating performances. It’s hard to bet against another one tonight.

Free Pick: Ohio State Buckeyes -8.5