There are just two weeks remaining in the men’s college basketball regular season and for the most part every conference title remains up for grabs. This Sunday’s slate includes a couple of huge matchups that could have a major impact on a few of these races starting with No. 4 Michigan State on the road against No. 18 Ohio State. The following is a handicapping guide for this Big Ten showdown as well as a brief look at the game of the day in the ACC and Big East.
Big Ten Game of the Day
No. 4 Michigan State Spartans vs. No. 18 Ohio State Buckeyes (CBS, 4:00 p.m. ET)
The Spartans will have to quickly put this past Monday’s disappointing 72-68 loss to No. 1 Indiana as one-point home favorites in the back of their minds heading into this showdown. They now trail the Hoosiers by one game in the conference standings and has dropped both games of this season’s series. Michigan State is 22-5 straight up on the year and 11-3 in Big Ten play. It has gone 3-1-1 against the spread in its last five games but is just 10-12-1 ATS overall. The total has gone OVER in five of its last seven games.
Michigan State is averaging 70 points while holding its opponents to 59.6 points a game. It is shooting 46.8 percent from the field. Keith Appling and Gary Harris are each averaging over 13 points a game and Adreian Payne is chipping-in another 9.8 points while leading the team in rebounds with seven. Harris is the team’s top long-range threat; hitting 43.2 percent from three-point range.
Ohio State’s chances of winning the Big Ten regular season title faded over the past few weeks with a 2-3 SU record in its last five games. This slide has dropped the Buckeyes to 19-7 overall and 9-5 in conference play. A 2-4 record ATS in their last six games has them 13-10-1 ATS on the year. They are 14-2 SU at home this season but just 8-6 ATS and the total has gone OVER in four of their last five games overall.
After suffering a tough two-point loss to Michigan in overtime on Feb. 5 as a seven-point road underdog, Ohio State was blown-out by 13 points in a loss to Indiana as a one-point home favorite and by a ridiculous 22 points as a four-point road underdog last Sunday to Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are averaging 70.7 points a game while shooting 45.4 percent from the field. They have allowed an average of 59 points a game this year.
The road team in this series is 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 meetings and the total has stayed UNDER in four of the last five games. Michigan State is 8-1 ATS in its last nine trips to Ohio State.
ACC Game of the Day
Boston College Eagles vs. No.6 Duke Blue Devils (ESPN3, 2:00 p.m. ET)
Boston College can only play the role of spoiler in the chase for the ACC regular season title with a dismal 4-9 SU record in conference play. However, there is a ray of hope to actually pull off an upset on Sunday after taking Duke to the wall in a 62-61 loss on Feb. 10 as an 11-point underdog at home. Overall, the Eagles are 12-14 SU but above .500 ATS at 12-8-2. The total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five games. Boston College is scoring 67.2 points a game while giving-up an average 67.6 points to its opponents.
The Blue Devils’ grip on a No. 1 seed for both the conference and NCAA Tournament took a bit of hit with a two-point loss to Maryland as four-point road favorites last Saturday, but they followed it up with a 88-56 romp over Virginia Tech this past Wednesday as 12 1/2-point favorites on the road. Duke trails Miami by three games in the ACC standings and is 23-3 SU (14-12 ATS) overall. It returns home where it is a perfect 13-0 SU but 6-7 ATS. With blue-chip players such as Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry leading the way, the Blue Devils are ranked 10th in the nation in points-per-game with 78.5 while shooting 47.4 percent from the field.
Big East Game of the Day
Cincinnati Bearcats vs. No.25 Notre Dame (CBS, 2:00 p.m.)
The Bearcats fell to 7-7 SU in conference play with a 73-66 overtime loss to Connecticut this past Thursday as one-point underdogs on the road. They are now 19-8 SU on the year and 10-13 ATS. Cincinnati is just 1-4 SU in its last five games and a costly 2-5 ATS in its last seven outings. The total has stayed UNDER in eight of its last 10 games. Part of the reason for the recent slide is the fact that the Bearcats have failed to hit their season average of 69.7 points in their last eight games.
Notre Dame still has an outside shot at winning the Big East regular season title; sitting 1.5 games behind Syracuse at 9-5. It is 21-6 SU overall after beating Pittsburgh 51-42 this past Sunday as a 10 ½ -point road underdog. This pushed the Irish’s record ATS to an even 12-12 overall. They have already beaten Cincinnati once this season with a 66-60 victory on Jan.7 as 4 ½-point road underdogs. To complete the season sweep, Notre Dame will need another big effort from Jack Cooley and Jerian Grant. These two have got it done all season long with a combined 27.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 6.4 assists.