Minnesota vs. Ohio State (1/12 @ 6:30 p.m. EST.)
Line: Ohio State -14.5
Minnesota vs Ohio State Breakdown and Betting Odds
The Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-8) are heading to Columbus for a battle with the Ohio State Buckeyes (10-5) Saturday at 6:30 p.m. ET. The Buckeyes are 14.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 136.5 points.
The Golden Gophers and Buckeyes have played 123 times since 1950. Ohio State has an impressive 77-46 record, winning 62.6% of matchups. In recent years, these schools have alternated runs. Minnesota swept both games in 2020 and won the first meeting of 2021, but Ohio State has won the last three. This will be the first matchup with both teams unranked since January 2020.
After a 4-1 start, Minnesota has dropped seven of nine games. They are 0-4 in the conference, and none of their six wins have been particularly impressive. They have been unranked for the whole season, and they have likely dug too big of a hole to dig out of this season. Minnesota has dropped their last two games, and they are well on their way to a fourth consecutive losing season. To add insult to injury, the Golden Gophers have not had a winning conference record since 2017. Minnesota ranks 193rd in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings.
Offensively, Minnesota is among the worst teams in the country. They average 64.3 points per game, a bottom 25 mark out of 363 teams. They rank 309th in offensive rating, and they have hit just 43.2% of their shots. They are an average three-point shooting team, hitting 33.4% of their threes, but it is far from a special unit. Minnesota does have a trio of double-digit scorers in Dawson Garcia, Jamison Battle, and Ta’Lon Cooper. Garcia leads the way with 14.6 points per game, and he has been reasonably effective inside the arc. Battle has hit 2.7 threes per game, and Cooper has hit 55% of his 2.9 attempts per game. Minnesota has yet to score 80 points, and their season-high of 79 points came in an overtime loss to Nebraska. They are ranked 207th in KenPom offensive rating.
Defensively, Minnesota has been marginally better, but they get a bit of a boost because of their incredibly slow pace of play. Minnesota is 139th in points allowed per game, but they are 254th in defensive rating. They have already allowed 80 or more points three times in the conference, including 90 in regulation to Michigan and 89 on the road at Purdue. They rank 174th in KenPom defensive rating. Cooper has helped with over a block and a steal per game, but Minnesota is just middle of the pack defensively.
Minnesota is 5-8-1 ATS. They are 2-3 ATS in their last five games, but they were able to cover against Wisconsin and Nebraska in their last two games. They have lost those games by just five combined points, covering +12.5 against Wisconsin and +3 against Nebraska. The under has hit in four of the last five games, narrowly missing in the Minnesota-Wisconsin game.
Ohio State Overview
The Buckeyes have had an up-and-down season so far. They have yet to win four games in a row, but they have four different multi-game win streaks. They had an impressive win over Texas Tech, but they dropped their other three games against ranked teams. They have been ranked in four releases of the AP poll, but they dropped out of the poll after losses to Purdue and Maryland. Ohio State should bounce back and make the NCAA tournament, but they need Zed Key to return from injury. Key has been integral to Ohio State’s success on both sides of the ball, and his absence has been felt in the Buckeyes’ two-game losing streak. They are 10th in the KenPom ratings.
Ohio State has one of the best offenses in the country. They play at a slower pace, so the volume (79.7 points per game) is just great, not elite, but they are fifth in NCAA in offensive rating, averaging 116.5 points per 100 possessions. In the KenPom offensive ratings, the Buckeyes are first. Ohio State is 18th in field goal percentage, 64th in two-point percentage, and 24th in three-point percentage. They have been solid on the glass as well, ranking 44th in total rebounds per game. They have four players scoring in double figures per game. Brice Sensabaugh leads the way with 16.7 points per game on a strong 43.3% mark from three. Key has been hyper-efficient when he has been on the floor, knocking down 63.5% of his shots. Justice Sueing (14.1 points per game) and Bruce Thornton (10.0) have also been productive.
Ohio State’s defense is not quite as good as its offense, but it is far from a bad unit. They are 97th in points allowed per game, and they are 112th in defensive rating. In KenPom defensive rating, they are 88th. The Buckeyes have been much better defensively at home. Their five worst defensive performances by points allowed have come away from home including allowing 89 points in a neutral-site game against North Carolina. Ohio State is 73rd in blocks per game led by Key’s 1.2 blocks per game. Felix Okpara has swatted 1.1 shots per game as well. Sueing and Thornton both have 12 steals. Okpara leads OSU’s regulars with a 91.2 defensive rating.
Ohio State is a mediocre 7-8 ATS this season. In the last five games, Ohio State is 3-2 ATS, but they have dropped the last two games. They were favored over No. 1 Purdue, but they lost at home. With Key, the Buckeyes were able to cover large spreads against Maine and Alabama A&M before the new year began. The over has hit in four of five games including the last two.
My Free Pick: Ohio State -14.5
The Buckeyes are in something of a swoon, but they are one of the best teams in college basketball. They get the benefit of home court in this game, and they are a much better team. Ohio State should be efficient in a slow-paced game and score enough to Cover -14.5. It is a big number, but Ohio State has the advantage both offensively and defensively.