At 1 p.m. E.T. today, Sunday, Feb. 18, the #8 Ohio State Buckeyes (22-6 Overall, 13-2 Big Ten) take on the #22 Michigan Wolverines (21-7 Overall, 10-5 Big Ten) in a Big Ten game. This is a day that sees numerous top 25 basketball teams square off. The Buckeyes are in second in the conference just one-half game behind #2 Michigan State. The Wolverines are fifth in the Big Ten and 3.5 games away from first. Our Ohio State plays Michigan 2018 NCAA basketball Big Ten pick has the Wolverines at -3.5 and the over/under at 132.0.
Ohio State is coming off a loss to unranked Penn State. That loss, which was their second to the Nittany Lions this season, happened on Feb. 15 with the final being 79-56. OSU came into that game riding a four-game winning streak. The last time they had lost prior to that contest was on Jan. 25. Who beat them? It was Penn State. In those four straight wins between losses to the Nittany Lions, OSU notched a big 64-63 victory over #3 Purdue.
The Wolverines have won four of their last five with that lone loss coming against Northwestern on Feb. 6. The final score in that game was 61-52. Just a week prior, Michigan had beaten the Wildcats 58-47. The Wolverine’s last win was on Feb. 14 when they took down Iowa 74-59. When OSU and Michigan met this past Dec. 4, the Buckeyes won that game 71-62.
If there’s an edge to be had here statistically, it is a minor one and overall it goes to Ohio State. The Buckeyes are averaging 76.3 PPG, connecting on 48.6% of their shots, and averaging 36.5 RPG. Michigan is close in all of those stats, averaging 74.0 PPG, hitting 47.1% of their attempts from the field, and grabbing 33.1 RPG. Where the Wolverines are a bit better than the Buckeyes is in points allowed (63.5 to 66.5), assists per game (15.1 to 14.8), and threes (36% to 35%). One major discrepancy has to do with free throws, as OSU dominates 74% to 65%.
Players to Watch
For Ohio State, a sound game from junior forward Keita Bates-Diop is essential. He leads the team in points per game (19.6), rebounds (8.8), and blocks (1.6). Plus, Bates-Diop is a 50% shooter from the field and is hitting 37% from downtown. Senior forward Jae’Sean Tate brings fine offensive and defensive skills to the court. He’s hitting 55% of his field goals while averaging 12.5 PPG and 5.8 RPG. Junior guard C.J. Jackson is the team’s setup man and a solid all-around player. Freshman forward Kalen Wesson is a 56% shooter who’s got fine rebounding skills. The bench is sound for OSU.
Michigan has three players with a lot of experience and who put in a majority of the minutes. Anchoring the frontcourt is Moritz Wagner. He’s good on 53% of his shots and is averaging 14.6 PPG and 7.3 RPG. All three of those figures are tops for the Wolverines. Guards Charles Matthews and Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman are keen shots from just about anywhere. Matthews is averaging 13.8 PPG and Abdur-Rahkman is connecting on 36% of his threes. Sophomore guard Zavier Simpson leads the team in assists with 3.7 per game. Guys coming off the bench for the Wolverines have value in terms of point production and quality play.
Our Ohio State Plays Michigan 2018 NCAA Basketball Big Ten Pick
Is this a tough call? Yes, it is very tough. We do like the Buckeyes at +3.5. We think they’ll come to this game ready to deliver, especially following their second loss to Penn State this season. But it will be a major battle. Our Ohio State plays Michigan 2018 NCAA basketball Big Ten pick is the Buckeyes at +3.5. We also like the over at 132.0.