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Maryland vs. Ohio State Pick NCAA Basketball – January 31st

We had to sweat it out big time, but we got the half-point win with Oklahoma State last night to keep our winning streak intact and notch a fourth straight college basketball winner (11-5 AT S in the last two weeks).  The win pulls us to 55-30-1 ATS on the season at TheSportsGeek and looking to keep the good times rolling on a crowded night of basketball.

But first, a quick update on another decimating injury in the Big East.  Xavier’s sophomore point guard and future NBA’er Edmond Sumner tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season.  Creighton already lost THEIR point guard for the year, ruining their dream season, now another first-team All Big East player is down.  Xavier’s season hadn’t been quote as magical, but they were still a solid tournament team whose front-loaded schedule could have very reasonably seen them battle back into #4 or #5 seed range over the final month.

Consider that ambition thwarted as the Muskies will now look to simply remain in the field as they navigate the deep Big East without their star.  It’s obviously a big blow for a kid who had a big decision to make in a few months about his pro career, but also a huge blow for Xavier and the Big East.

And yes, had I not had a self-imposed Duke ban and picked them last night, we would have won.  Likewise, if you chuck a coin up in the air and scream “heads” there is a 50/50 chance you would have won.  No, I am not ready to lift my Duke ban.  Just say no guys, just say no…

Today’s Free Pick:

Maryland Terrapins at Ohio State Buckeyes -2.5

I’m a bit of a broken record on this topic, but since it keeps cashing winning wagers, you can change the tune if you want.  I’m hitting “repeat.”

Maryland continues to be the most overlooked an oddly ignored team in the country.  They are a major conference power with an All American-caliber point guard who is sitting at 19-2 and no one, including pollsters and Vegas seems to notice.

Sure, they’ve had some close calls.  Yes, their schedule isn’t amazing.  But they are 19-2 with wins over Georgetown, Richmond, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Michigan, Indiana and @Minnesota.  There’s no Top 20 wins, but there are a bundle of Top 50 wins and they are 7-1 in Big Ten play.

Enter Ohio State.  Thad Motta is squarely entrenched in the worst two year stretch of his coaching career and the Buckeyes are likely to miss the Tournament for the second straight season.  They enter tonight at 13-9 (3-6) with home losses this season to Florida Atlantic, UCLA, Purdue and Northwestern.  Their road losses are largely excusable: Virginia, Wisconsin and Minnesota are tourney teams, Illinois and Iowa a little less savory.  But despite some close efforts, and a few decent wins over Michigan State and Minnesota, this isn’t a real good basketball team.

I have played Maryland twice on TheSportsGeek this season and four times overall if you are following along on Twitter @TheMarchManiacs, and I am going back to Melo Trimble once again.  I think this team is pretty good; dynamic and talented freshman well-orchestrated by a fantastic point guard having a bounce-back season after a rough sophomore campaign.

Road wins are tricky, but Maryland survived trips to Michigan, Iowa, Illinois and Minnesota and covered in all four making them perfect in conference play.  Ohio State is a VERY similarly profiled team (and worse than Michigan and Minny).

Free Pick:  Maryland Terrapins +2.5