VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Soccer
Boxing/MMA
More
Betting Tools

 
Gophers, Buckeyes both desperate

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - It's getting close to the only time of year when winning streaks mean much in college basketball.

Advertisement
No. 24 Ohio State, still dogged by a bad spell in January, is trying to stack together some solid games heading into the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.

''I think it's important,'' coach Thad Matta said Friday during preparations for his team's home game Saturday against Minnesota. ''You're establishing a collective thought of winning. But it's a lot easier said than done.''

One of the key stats cited by postseason experts is a team's record is in its last 10 games.

It's the bracketologist's version of ''What have you done for me lately?''

The Buckeyes (21-6, 8-6 Big Ten), No. 3 and 15-0 soon after the calendar year changed, have righted themselves from an awful 1-5 span and have now turned that around by going 5-1.

Stringing together some good games - hopefully wins, but even good efforts - this late in the season is the best way to get primed for the trials during one-and-done time.

''It can be huge, it can be a big factor,'' Ohio State point guard Aaron Craft said. ''Obviously, playing with a lot of confidence helps a lot. It always helps having a couple of wins under your belt going into it.''

The next test comes Saturday against Minnesota (17-10, 6-8), which beat the Buckeyes 63-53 during their troubled times. The Golden Gophers are also desperate to build some momentum, coming off a 62-49 home loss to struggling Illinois on Wednesday night.

''We were defending, especially in the beginning of the game,'' coach Richard Pitino said afterward. ''But in the second half, we just didn't do it. We made a lot of mistakes.''

So the Gophers - who can't afford many more efforts like that if they want to retain a tenuous seat on the NCAA bubble - are still seeking answers.

It's not as if teams must win every game down the stretch. Matta pointed out that three of the four teams in the 2011 NCAA Final Four - Connecticut, Virginia Commonwealth and Butler - weren't cinches to even be in the 68-team NCAA field late in the season.

But then each suddenly rode a wave that carried them all the way to the national semifinals in Houston.

After losing at home in overtime to Penn State in a shocker on Jan. 29, the Buckeyes won at No. 14 Wisconsin, at No. 17 Iowa and at home against Purdue. They played poorly down the stretch in a 70-60 home loss to No. 15 Michigan, but then shoved aside - literally - Northwestern 76-60 on Wednesday night.

In that game, there was a scuffle between Northwestern's Nikola Cerina and Ohio State's Amir Williams with 5:24 left. In an attempt to defend his teammate, the Buckeyes' LaQuinton Ross shoved a couple of Wildcats.

Cerina and Ross were disqualified from the game, Cerina for throwing a punch (that didn't make contact) with a closed hand, and Ross for picking up two technical fouls for the shoves. Cerina is suspended from Saturday's home game against Indiana for the punch, while Ross is available to play for the Buckeyes.

''I wouldn't say that I'm proud - I don't like that at all, I don't like the situation,'' Matta said. ''But you've got guys who spend a ton of time together and somebody swings at a guy ... but that's how trouble gets started. You can't have that. That is the politically correct thing - we won't stand for that.''

Since the earlier loss to Minnesota and their 1-5 swoon, the Buckeyes feel they've made some headway.

''We're not playing perfect. Obviously, teams get things on us that we wish we could take back,'' Craft said. ''But we're covering up more mistakes now because we're playing harder. If a guy gets out of position, we're not pointing fingers and we're not expecting that since they messed up they should try to fix it. We're picking each other up.

''That's what we need to continue to do as we head into this final stretch of the season.''

---

Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/RustyMillerAP

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Williams: Top 25 Betting Recap
Oklahoma State dismisses 2 players
ASU rising fast beyond the desert
Charlotte fires Price in third season
UCLA hoops moving past Ball family era
USC dunks Santa Clara 82-59
Northwestern buries Valparaiso 84-50
Lecomte back, Baylor routs Texas Southern
Jiggetts reaches 1,000 points in USF win
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAA BK College Basketball Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA BK Hot Streaks
5-0 L5, 26-4 Streak, 8-0 G-Plays
4-0 LN, 21-9 G-Plays, +2,956 TY
7-1 L8 Guarantees, 6-3 L9 Picks
17-3 L20 G-Plays, 24-10 L34 Totals
9-2 L11 G-Plays, 13-6 L19 Picks
8-3 G-Plays, 8-4 L5 Days, +1,386
5-0 G-Play Run, 4-1 L5 Picks
4-2 L6, 23-12 Run, 15-8 G-Plays
5 Straight Guaranteed Winners
4-2 L5 Days, 12-6 L18 G-Plays
5-1 L2 Days, 12-4 L16 Selections
5-2 L7 G-Plays, 9-5 L14 Picks
2-0 Last Night, 4-1 L5, 11-5 L16
8-1 Guarantees TY, 13-6 L19 Picks
15-8 Guaranteed Plays TY
12-5 Last 17 CBK G-Plays
NCAA College Basketball Expert Sports Picks - Bruce Marshall
2017 CBK SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 3156
The Gold Sheet + 2664
Micah Roberts + 1886
Last 7 Day Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1037
Alex Smart + 865
Micah Roberts + 757
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
The Gold Sheet 71 %
Bruce Marshall 64 %
Matt Fargo 63 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1202
The Gold Sheet + 1069
Kyle Hunter + 1025
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Antony Dinero + 1841
Bruce Marshall + 1834
Kyle Hunter + 1245
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Bruce Marshall + 1200
Bill Marzano + 663
Micah Roberts + 474
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership