Ohio State was No. 1 in the nation for five days during this past football season, but in their first defense of the ranking lost at Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes basketball team was in a similar position last week when they had a major hurdle in defense of their ranking with a tough road game against Illini in Champaign, but passed the test with a 73-68 win as a short 1½-point favorite.
It appeared to be the perfect spot for the Buckeyes to fall because they hadn’t really played anyone on the road and had struggled the previous two weeks against the Big Ten’s weaker teams. The Buckeyes had not covered for two straight weeks, but quickly turned it around by drubbing Iowa as 20-point favorites and then the big win at Illinois.
The win gave Ohio State (20-0) their best start since the Jerry Lucas days in the early 60’s and also showed signs of being a team that could possibly match their only national championship which was won in 1960. Despite last season’s All-American Evan Turner leaving for the NBA, the Buckeyes are still loaded with talent.
Freshman Jared Sullinger played his best game of the season when they needed it most and finished with 27 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots while playing all 40 minutes. His low post game is by far the best in the nation which will give them a huge edge in the tournament.
Up next for Ohio State is a visit from No. 12 Purdue, who is currently back on track, before early February hits where they’ll play all of the ranked Big Ten teams.
Texas has kind of gone under the radar this season but showed everyone on Saturday just how good they are after halting No. 2 Kansas’ 69-game home winning streak with a 74-63 win as 7-point underdogs. The win also gave the Longhorns a nice little feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1993 – beating North Carolina, Michigan State and Kansas in the same year.
And they did all three on the road.
Texas has to get past a trio of tough games the next two weeks, playing at Oklahoma State, hosting Missouri and visiting Texas A&M. The Horns wiped out the Aggies last week by 21. Should they come out clean from those possible pitfalls, Texas should be home free from there and positioned nicely for a No. 1 seed in the tournament.
MWC could land 4
With Colorado State handing UNLV a loss last week and raising its record to 13-5, is it possible that the Mountain West Conference could get four invitees for the NCAA’s?
San Diego State and BYU are locks to get in, but what about UNLV and Colorado State should them each finish strong? The MWC has the fourth ranked RPI conference ranking just behind the Big East, Big-12 and Big Ten.
UNLV has an RPI ranking of 31 while Colorado State is 55. My guess at this juncture is that the MWC will get only three bids and maybe not even that if the Rebels keep giving games away.
Jimmer, another 40
BYU’s Jimmer Fredettte is leading the nation in scoring at 26.7 ppg and became the first player to put up 40 points in two games this season with a 42-point effort at Colorado State.
I’m not quite sure how his game will translate to the next level, but it’s going to be fun watching. This kid is a gamer in all sense of the word and has a myriad of shots from anywhere on the court that makes him must-see TV.
The cover against the Rams was only BYU’s seventh of the season, The Cougars haven’t covered two straight games all season, yet are 19-1 straight up.
Odds & Ends
Although Penn State’s 10-8 record doesn’t suggest they’re anything to get worked up about, their four game cover streak against the likes of Purdue, Ohio State, Illinois and Michigan State should.
The Nittany Lions went 2-2 in those games straight up and take their ATS show back home this week against Iowa and Wisconsin.
Despite not covering two games in a row prior to Saturday’s game, we still love us some Drexel because they are one of the best cover teams in the nation going 11-5 ATS this season. This week the Dragons play Georgia State and then travel to James Madison.
Hilton notices Summit
Not every sports book posts lines on the Summit League, but places like the Hilton do on their Extra Added Games board. After nearly upsetting Michigan State and then beating then No. 7 Tennessee in Knoxville, Montana feels like it has gone to a far away place with no publicity.
The Golden Grizzlies are currently 9-0 in conference play and more importantly for us 15-6-1 ATS.
Saturday’s road win at North Dakota State as a 5½-point favorite.
Just when we thought Texas Tech was becoming a gift bet-against team going 2-12 ATS this season, the Red Raiders pull off an upset win Saturday over Nebraska as a 4-point underdog. Perhaps that win will raise their rating a notch.
Ball State is currently 5-0 in MAC play and has reeled off a 4-0-2 mark ATS over their last six. Thursday they’ll face Kent and then get Ohio on Saturday.
Villanova is currently on a 6-0-1 ATS cover streak that includes a Saturday beat down at Syracuse. The Orange took two lumps last week, their first losses of the season, and have become one of the best teams in the Big East to bet against going 7-11 ATS. In Big East play, now 3-4 ATS.