Ohio State vs Iowa
Both #7 Ohio State and #8 Iowa are tied with Wisconsin for the third spot in the Big Ten Conference, so their meeting at Carver-Hawkeye Center in Iowa City has a lot on the table for each school. They split the previous ten head-to-head duels, and the Hawkeyes won the lone last season’s clash as 2-point home favorites, 85-76.
The Iowa Hawkeyes opened as 4.5-point favorites in this one, while the totals sit at 158.5 points. We should see a high-scoring affair, as both teams lean heavily on their prolific offenses, while the over has hit in four of the last six encounters between Iowa and Ohio State. The Hawkeyes are 4-1 straight up and ATS in their last five home games against the Buckeyes.
Iowa scores the most points per 100 possessions in the country (125.6), but the Hawkeyes allow a whopping 99.0 points in a return (117th in the country). On the other side, Ohio State tallies 119.7 points per 100 possessions (5th) and surrenders 95.6 (67th).
The Hawkeyes really struggle to defend, allowing 70-plus points in five straight outings. They just snapped a two-game skid with an 84-78 home win over Michigan State, as senior center Luka Garza dominated with a double-double of 27 points and 12 rebounds.
— Iowa Basketball (@IowaHoops) February 3, 2021
Garza (26.5 PPG, 8.8 RPG) will be a key factor for Iowa on Thursday night, while the Hawkeyes’ bench should be an X-factor. Iowa’s second unit contributed with 39 points in that six-point victory against the Spartans.
The Buckeyes, on the other side, also played Michigan State last time out, recording a 79-62 home victory to extend their winning streak to three games. Ohio State lost only one of its previous six contests and is undefeated in three straight showings on the road.
We’re pretty sure that Ohio State has enough offensive firepower to upset the odds, but the Buckeyes will struggle to cope with Garza and the Hawkeyes’ great depth. Iowa shoots 48.4% from the field (31st) and 38.2% from deep (36th) while tallying 9.8 treys per game (23rd). The Buckeyes allow 7.2 triples per contest (168th) on 32.6% shooting (162nd).
Loyola Marymount vs Gonzaga
The #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs are undefeated in 23 consecutive games against the Loyola Marymount Lions. The Zags are 14-8-1 ATS in that span, but they’ve covered only once in their previous five encounters with the Lions.
Gonzaga is 17-0 on the season and 8-0 in the conference play, topping the West Coast Conference standings two and a half games ahead of BYU. Loyola Marymount is tied with San Francisco and Pepperdine for the third spot, as the Lions are 8-6 overall and 3-3 in the WCC play.
The visitors will have a mountain to climb in Spokane. They are not playing in a good form, dropping three of their last five games and covering just once in the process.
The Lions are coming off a 75-50 win at Portland, but the Pilots are 0-7 in the conference play and sit bottom of the WCC table. Furthermore, the Lions had to cancel all their activities in the last few days due to the medical protocols.
— LMU Men’s Basketball (@lmulionsMBB) January 29, 2021
Loyola Marymount leans on its defense, yielding 96.9 points per 100 possessions (85th) while scoring only 102.0 in a return (168th). However, the Lions rank 141st in opponent field goal percentage (42.3%) and 227th in opponent 3-point percentage (34.4%), so they’ll struggle against one of the best offensive teams in the country anyway.
The Zags score 124.7 points per 100 possessions (2nd) while playing at the eighth-fastest pace of 74.7 possessions per 40 minutes. They shoot 54.9% from the field (1st) and 35.4% from beyond the arc (102nd), so we’re backing the hosts to cover a massive spread.
College basketball pick – Gonzaga by 20.
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