A really quick way to handicap the January 23rd NCAAB free pick would just take the home team in the Minnesota at Ohio State matchup. That’s because these two teams are night and day depending on where they play, both 9-1 at home but with a combined 1-10 record going away this season. Is home court enough for the Buckeyes to cover the -7.5 spread though?
Minnesota Has Reason to Be Confident Here
The Golden Gophers are still searching for their first road win of the season (0-6) but there’s reason to think Richard Pitino’s team can keep Thursday’s tilt within 7.5 points. The biggest being that Minnesota has already beaten OSU this season, a good one too at 84-71 at Williams Arena as the same +7.5 underdog.
Ohio State is probably going to come into the January 23rd NCAAB free pick a bit angry. The loss to Minnesota on December 15th was the 1st of the season for the Buckeyes. It also started Ohio State on a 3-5 free fall that saw them drop not only out of the top 5, but the top 25 altogether and has the Buckeyes in 3rd to last in the Big Ten.
The Golden Gophers haven’t exactly torn it up on the road in conference play. Besides taking Purdue to OT at Mackey Arena on January 2nd, Minnesota has lost by 20 at Iowa, 16 at Michigan State, and 8 at Rutgers. The Gophers do have Daniel Oturu though who went for 14 points and 13 rebounds in the first meeting with the Buckeyes. Marcus Carr dropped 35 in the first meeting with OSU so Minnesota likes the matchup regardless of where it’s played.
Handicapping the Enigma That is Ohio State
The biggest question heading into the January 23rd NCAAB free pick is if Ohio State is bad overall – or just bad on the road? The Buckeyes come into Thursday’s game 5 of the last 6. There have been two home games over that span – a 4 point loss to the Badgers and a 12 point win over Nebraska but as -18 favorites.
Is location all that matters in this game? Ohio State looked overmatched and underwhelmed when these two teams met up in Minneapolis in mid-December. The Golden Gophers shot 54% en route to that win giving OSU their first loss of the season.
Ohio State should be down in the dumps being 2-5 in conference play so far. This becomes a make-or-break game for Chris Holtmann’s team though as they have Northwestern and Indiana coming up with a great chance of getting to .500. It starts with a win over Minnesota though.
January 23rd NCAAB Free Pick
Frustration is boiling over for Ohio State after dropping out of the top 25 but is that detrimental to a team’s effort sometimes? A lot of things have to go right for a team that has dropped 5 of their last 6 to cover a -7.5 spread. With Oturu, Carr, and the fact that the Golden Gophers took the 1st meeting by 13 it’s not a bad spot to take the points here.
Pick: Minnesota Golden Gophers +7.5