It's the final of the Big Ten Conference Tournament and the number one team, Ohio State, will take on Penn State. NCAA basketball odds makers have given the Buckeyes a double digit spread to cover.
No. 1 Ohio State aims for its second straight Big Ten Tournament championship when it takes on Penn State on Sunday afternoon in Indianapolis.
Ohio State Buckeyes (31-2 # Seed in Big Ten)
The Ohio State Buckeyes, who won their final four regular-season games by an average of 21.2 PPG, edged Northwestern 67-61 in overtime on Friday, and survived a Michigan rally, 68-61, on Saturday to advance to their third straight conference championship. Ohio State scored 16 straight points to take a 63-45 lead, but the Wolverines got within 65-61 with 21.4 seconds left before the Buckeyes iced it away with free throws for their sixth straight victory.
Ohio State swept the regular-season series from the Nittany Lions, winning a close call in Columbus on Jan. 15, 69-66, and handling Penn State with ease in Happy Valley, 82-61, on March 1. Jon Diebler (12.4 PPG, 49.7% three-pointers) hit 10-of-12 three-pointers and scored a career-high 30 points in the March victory, while Jared Sullinger (17.3 PPG, 10.1 RPG) totaled 29 points on 10-of-17 shooting in the two contests. Sullinger has averaged 17.0 PPG and 15.5 RPG in Ohio State's first two tournament games. The Buckeyes rank third in the nation in field-goal percentage (49.3%), 19th in scoring (77.3 PPG) and 23rd in assists (15.7 APG).
Penn State Nittany Lions (19-13 #6 Seed in Big Ten)
Penn State, which is hoping for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2001, beat Indiana, 61-55, on Thursday, survived an ugly 36-33 quarterfinal victory over Wisconsin on Friday, and handled Michigan State, 61-48, on Saturday. Talor Battle (20.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG) had 25 points, seven rebounds and six three-pointers and Tim Frazier (6.1 PPG, 5.0 APG) scored a career-high 22 points versus the Spartans.
The Lions have allowed a paltry 45.3 PPG on 36.2% shooting in their three tournament wins. Penn State shot only 42.0% from the floor (21-of-50) against Michigan State, but limited the Spartans to 32.1% (17-of-53) from the floor. The Nittany Lions have won seven of their past nine games (8-1 ATS) and four straight overall. They are now 15-6 ATS (71%) versus Big Ten teams, 11-4 ATS (73%) after an ATS win and are 11-7 ATS (61%) as an underdog this season. Sunday's matchup with Ohio State marks the Lions' first appearance in the Big Ten Tournament championship game.
The Buckeyes have won 15 consecutive games (7-8 ATS) versus Penn State, with their last loss to the Nittany Lions coming in 2004. Ohio State looks to become the first Big Ten tournament back-to-back winners since Michigan State in 1999 and 2000. The Nittany Lions are 0-12 all-time against The Associated Press' No. 1 ranked team. Despite Penn State’s great ATS marks this season and stellar defense during the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes have too many weapons to contend with and should win this game comfortably. This NCAA basketball betting trend also expects Ohio State to win and cover the spread on Sunday.
OHIO STATE is 7-0 ATS (+7.0 Units) when playing their 2nd game in 3 days over the last 3 seasons. The average score was OHIO STATE 81.5, OPPONENT 66.3 - (Rating = 2*).