The Big Ten only has one game on Valentine’s Day, but it’s a matchup that comes with some NCAA Tournament implications. Illinois goes on the road to face Ohio State in a game that could help the Buckeyes move up in the bracketology projections.
Let’s take a look at today’s Big Ten action.
Game of the Day:
- Time/TV: 7:00PM (ESPN2)
- KenPom Spread: Ohio State (-9)
The first time these teams met this season, things looked quite a bit different. Illinois limped into the game at 2-6 and Ohio State was 7-1 with some of the league’s most impressive non-conference wins on its resume. And the game largely went according to plan, with Ohio State cruising to a relatively easy victory in Chicago over the Illini.
But while Ohio State will be favored on Thursday night, this is no longer a one-sided matchup. The Illini have shown some major fight in recent weeks and are 4-1 over the team’s last five games. Illinois also swept the Big Ten’s weekly awards after knocking off Michigan State and Rutgers at home last week.
There’s clearly going to be more on the line for Ohio State, but this one looks like it could be pretty competitive on paper. The Buckeyes will likely be looking ahead to the matchup against Michigan State on Sunday and the Illini are really hot. If things go right, this one has the makings of an upset in Columbus.
The key matchup to watch will be Giorgi Bezhanishvili against Kaleb Wesson down low. Whoever comes out on top there is likely going to win this game. How Ohio State attempts to defend Ayo Dosunmu will also be pretty interesting.
- Pick Against the Spread: Illinois
Season Record vs KenPom’s Spread: 59-47-3