Our hot week continued last night, as we picked up yet another winner, our sixth win in eight bets this week, when we backed the Ohio State Buckeyes as home court favorites against Michigan. The Buckeyes were able to win at Ann Arbor in early February, and I felt that at home, they would have little issue covering the two-and-a-half-point spread.
And while the Wolverines recent hot streak, they had won seven out of their previous nine games entering play last night, did give me a little bit of concern, at the end of the day, I didn’t let it scare me away from backing what I saw as the superior team. So, I laid a little wood and backed the Buckeyes.
— Ohio State Hoops (@OhioStateHoops) March 1, 2020
And while the game was quite a bit more competitive than that final score might lead you to believe, we still didn’t have to sweat this one all that much. The Buckeyes had several runs where they were able to take big leads early in the game, only to see Michigan fight their way back into the game each time. But the final run from Ohio State was just too much, as they closed out the game on a big run, and ended up blowing Big Blue out.
The win was a nice one for Ohio State, and they moved up from 23rd in last week’s AP Poll to 19th in the newly released poll this morning. The Buckeyes have their eyes set on a top-four seed, and if they can win a couple more games down the stretch in the Big 10, they are going to get it. ESPN’s chief Bracketologist Joe Lunardi has the Buckeyes currently at a six seed.
For Michigan, the Wolverines badly wanted the win and came up short. The loss dropped them from 19th to 25th in the AP Poll, and Lunardi dropped them down a line as well in his projected bracket, joining Ohio State on the six-line. The Buckeyes now hold the season sweep over Michigan. For today’s daily betting pick, we will head to Duke, where the Blue Devils host the NC State Wolfpack.
- NC State Wolfpack (18-11) at Duke Blue Devils (23-6)
- Cameron Indoor Stadium, Durham
- 4:00 PM PST
- TV: ESPN
The Duke Blue Devils seek their revenge tonight as they host an NC State Wolfpack team that blew them out by twenty-two points two weeks ago. The Blue Devils have hit a rare rough patch as they have lost three out of their last four games after losing just three games in their first twenty-five games of the season. The rough patch has cost them their spot in the top-five as they fell to 12th in the latest AP Poll.
Need everyone tonight in Cameron‼️
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) March 2, 2020
For NC State, the Wolfpack are squarely on the bubble right now and badly need a win to propel them into an at-large bid. NC State has an impressive collection of top-100 wins, including wins over Duke, Syracuse, Virginia, Clemson, Notre Dame, UNC- Greensboro, Wake Forrest, and Wisconsin. But they also have a lot of losses, including losses to non-tournament teams like North Carolina (twice), Boston College, and Georgia Tech (twice). A win tonight would go a long way to securing their spot in the madness.
North Carolina State Wolfpack
It has been a turbulent season full of ups and downs for this NC State team, but with just a couple of games left on their regular-season schedule, they are in consideration for an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament. A win tonight over Duke would almost certainly get them into the tournament, a loss would mean they would have more work to do, specifically in the ACC conference tournament.
When these two teams matched up in Raleigh, the Wolfpack dragged down fifty-one rebounds, including fifteen on the offensive glass. They used those extra opportunities to hit 61% of their three-pointers and score eighty-eight points. They will need another dominant performance on the boards tonight if they want any shot at pulling off the upset.
Duke Blue Devils
The eye test tells us that this Duke team is elite. But when you look at the data, this might be Coach K’s shakiest team in years. Duke has just four quad one victories this season. That is fewer than Minnesota, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Providence, and all of those are bubble teams. In fact, there are forty-one teams with at least as many, or more, quad one victories as Duke has right now.
And when you look at their losses, there are some head-scratchers on this Blue Devils resume. Losses to Stephen F Austin, Clemson, and Wake Forrest came to teams that are bubble teams at best right now. I am not saying that this Duke team isn’t good, they are, but they may not be great like we have thought all season long.
Who Do I Like?
NC State is going to give a full effort tonight in this one. They know that if they can win in Durham, that they will punch their dance card into the Big Dance. And when you look at how they played the last time these teams matched up; I think they have a shot to pull off the upset.
Vernon Carey Jr terrorized the Wolfpack, scoring twenty-seven points and grabbing twelve rebounds, but NC State was OK with letting him have whatever he wanted, as they shut down the rest of the Duke attack. The Blue Devils got just eight points out of their bench in that game, and their lack of depth was exposed.
I think this is going to be a tightly contested game. And while I do think that Duke is going to win, they just don’t lose at home very often, I don’t think it is going to be easy. This team is struggling right now, and for them to cover this number, they are going to have to blow this game out, and I just don’t see that happening.
In the first matchup, the Wolfpack had three guys score over twenty-points, and all five of their starters are scoring double-digits per game on the year. They use that balanced attack to score a bunch of points, and if this game gets into a shootout, I think they just might shock the world again.
But we won’t need all that to happen to cash our ticket, as all we need is a competitive game, and that is what we are going to get. Fells like an 81-77 final score with Duke sneaking out with the win if you ask me. Give me the NC State Wolfpack +13-points tonight on the road!