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NCAAM Basketball Pick for January 7th

Michigan State Spartans (15-1) at Ohio State Buckeyes (12-4)

The betting line information used for this article was taken from Bovada at 8:30 AM PST on 1-7-18. Some odds may have changed.

Yesterday was absolute pandemonium in college basketball. Seemingly the entire top twenty-five lost! Duke, Xavier, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Arizona, TCU, and Kentucky were all ranked teams that got beat on Saturday. It was a wild day and should really shake up the rankings on Monday! Unfortunately, we didn’t survive the melee either as we backed Oklahoma +4.5 on the road against West Virginia.

The game was competitive, but every time the Sooners would cut the lead down to a manageable number the Mountaineers would go on a run and stretch the lead back out. What can you do, sometimes the college basketball world goes crazy all at once, and we lost. Today we will break down the number one team in the land, Michigan State, as they travel to play conference rival Ohio State.

The Michigan State Spartans will take their number one ranking on the road, as they travel to Columbus, Ohio to face the Ohio State Buckeyes in a Big 10 conference game. The Spartans have played a murderer’s row of teams this year and are 15-1 and justifiably ranked number one.

The Buckeyes are just outside of the top twenty-five and could badly use a resume-building win like this today. After a rocky start, Ohio State has won seven out of their last eight games. Michigan State is -8 point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 146 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:30 PM PST from Value City Arena in Columbus.

Michigan State is the best team in the country right now, period, end of story. Especially when you look at the rest of the top five, they all have a recent loss. January basketball is where the heat really gets turned up with conference play hitting its full stride, and Sparty has not skipped a beat.  The Spartans only loss on the season came way back in early November, in the second game of the season, against the then number one ranked Duke Blue Devils.

Since then, Michigan State has reeled off fourteen straight wins against some stellar competition. UCONN, North Carolina, Notre Dame, and Maryland are all very good teams that the Spartans have beaten already this year. The big story here being the margin of victory against those teams.

They beat the defending national champion North Carolina Tar Heels by 18 points. They beat a then top five ranked Notre Dame team by 18. They beat a 13-3 Maryland Terrapins team by thirty their last time out. This team isn’t squeaking by good teams. They are dominating elite ones.

The Spartans are led by second-year guard Miles Bridges. Bridges passed up on the NBA after a sensational freshman year and has improved upon that success, even more this season. When you look at the Spartans stats, they are almost unbelievable. They are the best shooting team in the nation with a 53% field goal percentage as a team. They are 7th in the country from beyond the arc at 43%, they are the third best rebounding team with almost 44 boards a game and they lead the nation in blocked shots at over 8 rejections a contest.

There is truly no weakness in this Tom Izzo coached squad, and you can pencil them in for a Final Four trip if they stay healthy. They will have a major test today, playing on the road in conference, against the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The Ohio State Buckeyes don’t have anywhere near the body of work that the Spartans have this season, but honestly, nobody does. The Bucks are a solid Big 10 team that should be right there with Purdue, Michigan, Maryland, and Minnesota competing for the second-place spot in a very good Big 10 Conference. Ohio State hasn’t had any terrible losses, all the L’s on the Buckeyes schedule are to teams that should be playing in the NCAA tournament, but getting a win against a team like Michigan State could vault the Buckeyes into the top twenty-five nationally.

Ohio State could really use the win as they don’t really have a marquee win to hang their hats on yet. They have decent wins against Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa in conference, but those wins aren’t going to get the Buckeyes a top-four seed come March Madness. Today they have a chance to really boost that resume at home, they can’t let it slip by.

I am a little bit gun shy after seeing the carnage that went down yesterday amongst the top fifteen teams in the country, but Michigan State is on another level right now. They aren’t beating teams, they are blowing them out and getting them to quit. They haven’t played a game in a month that they haven’t won by at least thirty points, and there were a couple of solid teams sprinkled into that stretch of games.

Sparty plays a true twelve-man rotation, and their twelfth guy is still really good. It doesn’t matter who is on the court for Michigan State, they are producing strong results, and nobody can hang with them right now.

If you read this article daily you know I don’t like to back road teams in conference laying a lot of points. It is a recipe for disaster as the conference games are always much closer than the public thinks they will be. But with the way that Michigan State is playing right now, I can’t not back them.

They played a Maryland team last game that matches up talent wise very close to Ohio State and beat them by 30 points! Thirty! That is a top twenty-five type team, and it wasn’t remotely competitive. Until the Spartans show me otherwise, I will continue to have to back them. At home, on the road, neutral floor, it hasn’t seemed to matter this year.

Give me the Michigan State Spartans -8 points tonight from Columbus.

The Bet: Michigan State Spartans -8 points

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