Ohio Bobcats vs. North Carolina Tar Heels
The Ohio University Bobcats and the North Carolina Tar Heels meet on Friday in St. Louis for a Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament game with the winner going to the Elite Eight. The Tar Heel are -10.5 point favorites over the Bobcats with an over/under point total set at 143.
It has been a magical run for the Ohio Bobcats in March Madness as John Groce’s 13th seeded team has knocked off teams from the Big Ten and the Big East in their first two games. Ohio beat Michigan in their first game and then flowed that up by beating a tough South Florida team but now they will face their biggest test of the year. Walter Offut had 21 points against USF, D.J. Cooper had 19 points, six rebounds, and seven assists, and Nick Kellog had nine points. OU shot 39 percent from the floor but lit it up from beyond the three point arc at 50 percent and they hit 75 percent of their free throws. The Bobcats are 5-0 this season on a neutral court , 1-1 against teams ranked in the top 25 and they have played the 164th ranked schedule in the nation. Ohio has taken control of games early in this tournament and not let their opponents back into it and they will need to do that here to have any chance of an outright win.
The North Carolina Tar Heels have been impressive in their first two wins in this year’s NCAA Tournament this year but most of the discussion surrounding this week’s game has been on injured guard Kendall Marshall whose status is still unknown for this game. UNC had their way with Vermont and Creighton and the way the ball has bounced for them they get a third team from a non-major conference. Marshall had 18 points and 11 assists against Creighton, Harrison Barnes had 17 points, John Henson had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Reggie Bullock had 13 points and eight rebounds. As a team the Tar Heels shot 50.8 percent from the floor, 50 percent from beyond the three point arc, and they hit 68.4 percent of their free throws. North Carolina is 6-2 in neutral site games and they played the ninth ranked schedule in the nation, With or without Marshall North Carolina has been preparing all week so they should have a solid plan in place either way.
Ohio is 9-0 against the spread in their last nine non-conference games, 4-1 against the spread in their last five NCAA Tournament games as an underdog, and 17-8 against the spread in their last 25 games against a team with a winning record. North Carolina is 5-1 against the spread in their last six non-conference games, 9-3 against the spread in their last 12 games overall, and 1-4 against the spread in their last five games against MAC teams.
Ohio is going to need to hit three pointers to keep this close and look for them to be throwing them up after shooting 50 percent last game and UNC hit 50 percent of their three pointers as well and for that reason I see this one going over the total of 143 and the over is my pick.