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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, February 9, 2013 at 8:25 PM

The deep and talented Big 10 conference is basically having March Madness in February, as the best teams square off in games that should prepare them very well for the challenges ahead once a championship is on the line. Sports bettors should be scouting these teams for the tournaments as they try to pick big game winners on a daily basis.

A recent marquee cycle will finish Sunday when #1 Indiana visits #10 Ohio State at 1 p.m. ET on CBS

*Indiana just beat Michigan in a showdown of possible #1 seeds

*Michigan barely survived Ohio State in a revenge thriller

*Ohio State hosts Indiana, right after Indiana was stunned by Illinois!

The Hoosiers are going to fall out of the #1 spot even if they win Sunday because of that loss to the Illini. Given the rate of recent upsets, they may be right back there again though by the beginning of next month. Ohio State is in danger of dropping too given that loss to Michigan. It would be a shame for the Buckeyes to take a poll hit if they play competitive games vs. Michigan and Indiana in the same week.

Man, the Big 10 is brutal! Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are anxious to get back in the conversation too. Given the number of league teams who will be seeded to reach the Sweet 16, handicappers should be studying the power teams in the Big 10 every chance they get.

Let’s run Indiana-Ohio State through our gauntlet of indicator stats. If you’re new to the site, we focus on computer data that’s publicly available from Jeff Sagarin at USA Today and college basketball guru Ken Pomeroy. Our own Power Ratings and computer simulation results are proprietary, and must stay protected because of the role they pay in providing selections to our paying clients.


Indiana: 20-3 (8-2 in the Big 10)

Ohio State: 17-5 (7-3 in the Big 10)

Both teams are having great seasons as you know. Ohio State knows it can forge a tie with the Hoosiers in the Big 10 race with a Sunday victory. Handicappers often lose site of the standings because they’re thinking about Power Ratings and trends. The kids themselves see the standings in the newspaper. Ohio State knows how big a win in Columbus would be.


Indiana: #3 with Sagarin, #2 with Pomeroy

Ohio State: #8 with Sagarin, #8 with Pomeroy

Indiana didn’t play like a top three team at Illinois, and frankly hasn’t away from home all season. They lost to Butler on a neutral court, didn’t impress vs. Georgetown and Georgia in Brooklyn back when the season started. This a road game here…meaning the Hoosiers are vulnerable if the Buckeyes can keep their heads on straight.


Indiana: #54 with Sagarin, #65 with Pomeroy

Ohio State: #42 with Sagarin, #32 with Pomeroy

It’s odd to say this about a team in a killer conference. But, Indiana’s strength of schedule this year really isn’t all that great for a team in a killer conference! They played way too many cupcakes in pre-conference action. That shows up late in close games on the road. Falling apart in the final minutes vs. Illinois is less of a surprise when you realize Indiana’s players aren’t that experienced with crunch time on the road. Ohio State’s more battle-tested, which may matter on their home floor Sunday.


Indiana: 6-3

Ohio State: 3-5

Some good news for Indiana here. Though, that’s influenced by home games…the Hoosiers have performed CLEARLY better when stepping up in class than the Buckeyes have. They’ve played more games against the top 50, and have much better results.


Indiana: projected #1 seed

Ohio State: projected #3 seed

There was some talk a couple of weeks ago that Ohio State was looking at a #5 or #6 seed. We agree with Lunardi that they’re at least a #3 seed right now in terms of their form. If tough losses in Big 10 play knock them down from that…they’re going to be a very tough out as a lesser seed. All the superpowers are stubbing their toes lately…so we still think Indiana will get a #1…or #2 at the very worst. It’s not like Kansas is about to fly past them!


Indiana: #2

Ohio State: #14

Two very good offensive teams when you adjust for tempo and strength of schedule. Indiana can become a bit turnover prone in pressure situations because they attack so aggressively. And, we saw the other night that they can get sluggish in crunch time in halfcourt sets with tired legs. If an opponent can survive the first 35 minutes, Indiana won’t play like the #2 offense away from home in the last five minutes. Ohio State’s better offensively than many realize. A slow tempo hides that on the scoreboard.


Indiana: #20

Ohio State: #11

This is where Indiana could run into problems in the tournament. A #20 ranking is great when you’re talking about more than 300 teams being measured…but becomes pedestrian once you’re down to the best 16 teams in the country. Indiana will flip from having the better defense to having the worse defense deep in the Dance. We see an example of that above for this game. The better defensive team is the host.


Indiana: #63

Ohio State: #204

A lot of great matchups this week that have seen contrasting styles. As we always remind you, it’s typically the home team that forces its pace on the visitor. Ohio State will try to keep things measured, forcing Indiana to score out of a set offense. Indiana will try to push things to get Ohio State out of its comfort zone. We’ve hope you’ve seen the benefits this week of incorporating pace factor into your handicapping.


Once again, whoever controls the pace probably gets the money against Las Vegas expectations. There’s a lot to like about both teams. Intensity should be high because both teams are coming in off nailbiter losses. We can’t say there’s an obvious intangible edge beyond the boost the Buckeyes will get from their home crowd. Indiana’s inconsistent play away from Bloomington makes it a bit tougher to back the visitor at this dangerous site.

JIM HURLEY has been running the simulations for this game ever Indiana/Illinois ended the other night. If there’s an edge against the number, NETWORK clients will get it! You can purchase the full Sunday slate right here at the website Sunday morning. Other big games we’re looking at include:

#4 Duke at Boston College

California at #7 Arizona

St. John’s at #9 Syracuse

LA Lakers at Miami on ABC

Denver at Boston (two hot teams!)

If you’d like to talk to a representative about service through MARCH MADNESS or the NBA playoffs, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. The earlier you sign up for the Dance package, the more bang you get for your buck! Football is over…and it’s time to really hunker down for the big basketball advantages that are available against overmatched oddsmakers.

Back with you Monday to look at Kansas State/Kansas on ESPN’s Big Monday. The Big 12 race has gotten VERY interesting in recent days! Be sure you’re with us EVERY day so you know what’s REALLY happening in college basketball. And, link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

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