Fresh off a productive showing at the Maui Invitational in which it won two of three games, No. 25 Ohio State travels to North Carolina for a prime-time clash against No. 17 Duke. The Wednesday matchup, which will air on ESPN at 7:15 p.m. ET, is part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
The ACC currently leads the event 5-3, with six games scheduled for Wednesday.
ESPN announced this week that this will be the final season of the event, as the Big Ten will be replaced by the SEC in future seasons. The SEC is a media rights partner with ESPN, while the Big Ten won’t be in future years.
Buckeyes a small underdog
Ohio State is a small underdog against Duke, with most mobile sportsbooks — including BetMGM, Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, and FanDuel — listing the Buckeyes as 5.5-point underdogs. The Buckeyes are +200 on BetMGM and DraftKings to win outright. The total for the game is 137.5 at multiple sportsbooks, including PointsBet.
While sportsbooks that will eventually go live in Ohio are offering lines on the matchup, legal sports betting won’t launch in the state until Jan. 1. Once legal betting platforms go live, fans of the Buckeyes can wager on the majority of the team’s Big Ten schedule.
While Duke’s home-court advantage is notable, the Blue Devils haven’t exactly looked unstoppable in their first season since Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement. Duke is 5-2 with losses to Kansas and Purdue, and the loss to the Boilermakers was a 19-point blowout.
Duke is shooting under 30% from 3-point range this season, a notable matchup advantage for the Buckeyes, who are allowing teams to shoot just 26% from beyond the arc this season. Slowing down Kyle Filipowski will be key for Ohio State, as the 7-foot freshman leads Duke in scoring with 15.4 points per game and rebounding with 9.4 per contest.
99% of 7'0" humans can't do stuff like this
📺 ESPN pic.twitter.com/djjMNKmETz
— Duke Men’s Basketball (@DukeMBB) November 25, 2022
While the Buckeyes’ regular contributors are often shorter than 7-feet tall, the group has some size. Zed Key is listed at 6-feet-8-inches tall, but he’s also 255 pounds and capable of defending the post. Filipowski isn’t an average big man, however, as he possesses guard-like skills despite being a 7-footer. It’ll take an impressive effort from the Buckeyes to slow him down.
UNC game looms
Ohio State also faces the ACC’s University of North Carolina on Dec. 17 at Madison Square Garden as part of the CBS Sports Classic. KenPom, a basketball analytics site, currently projects the Buckeyes as a 1-point favorite over the 18th-ranked Tar Heels.
College basketball fans need to mark their calendars for Dec. 17, as UNC-Ohio State is one of a handful of major matchups that Saturday. Also on that day’s slate: No. 1 Houston travels to Charlottesville to face No. 3 Virginia, No. 14 Gonzaga plays at No. 11 Alabama, No. 13 Tennessee plays at No. 4 Arizona, and No. 10 Indiana plays at No. 9 Kansas. No. 21 UCLA and No. 19 Kentucky will also compete in the CBS Sports Classic after the UNC-Ohio State game.
Photo: Adam Cairns/USA TODAY