Michigan State vs. Ohio State NCAA Basketball Preview and Best Bet

Gabe Brown #44 of the Michigan State Spartans celebrates. Rey Del Rio/Getty Images/AFP (

It’s all about the seeding, baby, and a tight Big Ten race should lead to the Michigan State Spartans and Ohio State Buckeyes slugging it out when they collide on Thursday’s NCAA basketball betting card.

Michigan State Spartans vs. Ohio State Buckeyes

Thursday, March 3, 2022 – 7:00 PM EST at Value City Arena

Neither Michigan State nor Ohio State is playing particularly well as the regular season winds down, though both appear to be safely into the NCAA Men’s Tournament as middling seeds at this time. The Spartans are especially struggling with six setbacks in their last eight trips to the floor, while the Buckeyes have dropped their last two, and three of the last five.

Blame it on the Big Ten is a deep and talented conference once again. With the top 4 seeds at next week’s tournament in Indianapolis earning byes into the quarterfinals, the Buckeyes are currently tied for fourth with Iowa and desperately needing to be on the right side of the NCAAB scores in this one, while the Spartans are tied with rival Michigan in seventh.

MSU Fails to Cover Last Five Road Tilts

One of two early Big Ten games on the Thursday slate that have huge implications to the standings, ESPN will televise the Spartans and Buckeyes and it is Ohio State carrying chalk in the 6-6½ range according to the live betting odds boards. Both sides have seen two of their last three contests stop short of the totals, and the target for this one is 138½ points.

Those vicious Michigan State dogs who beat Purdue last Saturday turned into whimpering puppies at Michigan on Tuesday. Getting 5 points in Ann Arbor, the Spartans managed to hang around for all of about the first four minutes before rolling over and playing dead against a resurgent group of Wolverines who coasted to a relatively easy 87-70 victory.

Save for the turnover column, Michigan dominated its Mitten State rival in every phase of the game. The Spartans failed to show up on defense most of the contest as the Wolverines shot better than 58% from the field, and did even better from 3-point range where they netted seven of 12 tries all while Hunter Dickinson was scoring 33 and dominating the paint.

Beating No. 4 Purdue last weekend appeared to point Michigan State in the right direction, but appearances can be deceiving as we all know. The victory also pushed Tom Izzo into a tie with the legendary Bobby Knight for most Big Ten wins in their coaching careers, each with 662 dubyas on the ledger.

OSU Trending ‘Under’ at 2-6 O/U Last Eight

Things were also looking up for Chris Holtmann’s crew a week ago when the Buckeyes went to Champaign as 6½-point underdogs on the college basketball odds and returned home with an impressive 86-83 triumph over then-No. 15 Illinois. Ohio State trailed by as many as 13 in the first half but turned things around with some hot shooting.

Ohio State has since followed that big win up with consecutive losses to Maryland and Nebraska, the first of those taking place on the road and the second coming at home on Tuesday to a Cornhuskers team that had had not beaten a ranked opponent for 24-straight games. Holtmann pointed to both of the defeats being the result of his Buckeyes simply not playing well as a team.

Buckeyes Have Won Three of Last Four Meetings in Columbus

Thursday’s tango is the only scheduled meeting of the regular season, and Michigan State holds a 78-60 advantage over Ohio State, discounting vacated and disputed outcomes between the two rivals. The sides split home wins and cover a season ago, with both results staying ‘under’ totals at the best online betting sites.

Michigan State traveled to Columbus a little more than 13 months ago under similar conditions following a long pause due to the pandemic, and Ohio State administered a 79-62 beatdown on the Spartans during what was a 4-game losing streak for Izzo’s side. E.J. Liddell had 20 points for the Buckeyes who easily covered as 5½-point home chalk, and the final stopped just shy of the 142-point total.

Two teams playing as erratically as the Spartans and Buckeyes never make for an easy college basketball pick. Michigan State has really looked out of it on the road at times, but at least the Spartans are 100% on the health front while Ohio State is likely without forwarding Zed Key (ankle) this evening. Take the points in this BIG battle.

NCAAB Pick: Michigan State +6½ (-110) with BetMGM