Wisconsin has been an NCAA Tournament staple this decade and has had a few deep runs in the Big Dance, but the Badgers are struggling a bit this year and may not make it. That wasn’t helped with the recent news that second-leading scorer Kobe King left the program with an intention to transfer. King averaged a team-leading 12.6 points per game in Big Ten play and was second on the Badgers with a 10-point average. Here’s a look at two intriguing early-week matchups around the nation. Check back for college basketball betting odds.
Top College Basketball Betting Picks of the Week – February 3rd Edition
Ohio State at Michigan
- When: Tuesday, 7 PM ET (ESPN2)
These rivals hate each other regardless of sport. Both were ranked in the Top 5 nationally at one point this season but have fallen off a cliff since – both are on the NCAA Tournament bubble right now.
It’s the first of two meetings, with Michigan going to Columbus on March 1. Last season, they played only once and Michigan won 65-49 at home. Wolverines point guard Zavier Simpson, still a big part of the team, finished with a triple-double — 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds. He also had zero turnovers in 35:51 of action. Michigan was just 10-for-27 from deep, but OSU was worse at 5-for-21. The Wolverines held the Buckeyes under 50 for the first time in this rivalry since Jan. 29, 1949. The Buckeyes’ chances of an upset in Ann Arbor were done in by their 19 turnovers.
For this game, OSU will be a bit short-handed as point guard DJ Carton has taken a temporary leave of absence from the team to deal with his mental health. Carton, the Buckeyes’ third-leading scorer and second-leading assist man, has been a key cog in their season, running the offense and operating as one of the better freshmen in the Big Ten. He has started three games and played at least 18 minutes in every game. He’s averaging 10.4 points and 3.0 assists so far this season.
Michigan comes off an upset win over Rutgers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Brandon Johns Jr. led the Wolverines with a career-high 20 points. Simpson tied Gary Grant with his 14th career game with 10 assists or more.
Simpson had been suspended for an undisclosed off-the-court issue but was reinstated ahead of the game. He leads the nation in assists.
Ohio State won its second in a row Saturday, 68-59 over Indiana. Kaleb Wesson notched his ninth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds while CJ Walker went for 14 points, four assists and three steals. Andre Wesson scored 10 points and dished out four assists while Justin Ahrens poured in 11 points.
Georgia at Florida
- When: Wednesday, 7 PM ET (ESPNU)
Like Ohio State-Michigan, these rivals hate each other regardless of sport. Two of the nation’s best freshmen will be on display in Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, the potential No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, and Florida’s Scottie Lewis, a likely lottery pick this summer. Unfortunately, neither is looking like to play in the NCAA Tournament with both the Dawgs and Gators as big disappointments.
This is the first of two meetings, with Florida going to Athens on March 4. Last year, they split with each winning on the road. The one in Gainesville finished 61-55 in favor of underdog Georgia. Nicolas Claxton scored 25 points, including four in the final two minutes. Claxton dominated the Gators inside and out, offensively and defensively. He made 9 of 12 shots and altered several on the other end. Claxton is now in the NBA. Jordan Harris sealed the victory with a driving layup that put the Bulldogs up 59-55 with 27 seconds remaining. Florida’s top player, KeVaughn Allen, finished with five points on 1-of-10 shooting. The Gators were 5 of 21 from 3-point range and outscored 34-22 in the paint.
Georgia snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday with a 63-48 win over Texas A&M on Saturday. For the second-straight game and the second time in his career, Edwards recorded a double-double with 29 points and 15 rebounds. The last freshman to complete the feat of recording back-to-back double-doubles was Jumaine Jones during the 1997-98 season. Edwards became only the fourth NCAA freshman this season to tally 25 points and 15 rebounds or more in a single game.
Edwards paced Georgia in scoring for the 13th time this season and in rebounding for the second-straight game. This offensive performance marks his 10th 20-point performance on the year and his 15 boards sets a career-high for the freshman. Edwards scoring performance tonight also moves him up two spots to No. 6 in UGA’s Top-10 Freshman scorers, passing D.A Layne and Walter Daniels.
Florida won at awful Vanderbilt on Saturday, 61-55, to snap a three-game skid. Sophomore forward Keyontae Johnson scored 20 points for UF, while Noah Locke had 17. Johnson went 7-for-11 from the floor, 2-for-3 from deep and 4-for-5 from the free-throw line over 39 minutes.
Expert College Basketball Betting Picks
Back both home teams.