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Ohio State men’s basketball travels to Xavier tonight as 2.5-point favorites

The No. 19 Buckeyes are looking to build on their 3-0 start to the season.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Nicolas Galindo/The Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Following an 89-58 shellacking of Bowling Green on Monday night, No. 19 Ohio State (3-0) travels to the Queen City tonight to take on the also undefeated Xavier Musketeers (2-0) as part of the Gavitt Tipoff Games, which are televised on FS1. Ohio State is 3-0 in the Gavitt Games since their inception in 2015.

The game tips off at 6:30 p.m. ET, and the Buckeyes are currently favored by just 2.5 points according to DraftKings Sportsbook. The moneyline has OSU at -140, while the Musketeers are at +120. Not a ton of wiggle room, eh?

Xavier went 13-8 last season, finishing sixth in the Big East conference, but missing the NCAA Tournament. They also had seven games postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19, which certainly could have provided the resume boost necessary to make the Big Dance had those games been played.

Travis Steele’s Musketeers won their first two games by a combined 17 points, beating Niagara by just three and then soundly defeating Kent State by 14. Xavier and Ohio State have a very limited series history despite their geographic proximity, having played just one time during the regular season in the past 35 years. The two teams did face each other in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, however.

Having coached in the Big East, Chris Holtmann knows what he is up against heading to the Cintas Center on Thursday night. Especially for a rare occasion such as this, the Xavier crowd is undoubtedly going to be raucous.

In addition to the point-spread, the DraftKings oddsmakers have set the collective point total at 139.5. The over is coming in at -105 while the under is -115.

Th Big East won the first four games in this year’s Gavitt Games, but following last night’s victories by Michigan State (over Butler) and Indiana (over St. John’s), Ohio State and Rutgers are in a position to potentially salvage a series split if they can both win tonight. What say you?