Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Cincinnati Bearcats

The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Cincinnati Bearcats face off on Thursday Night in Boston with a spot in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament going to the winner.  The Buckeyes are -8.5 point favorites over the Bearcats with an over/under point total set at 130.5.

The Ohio State Buckeyes have been in the top 10 in the rankings for the bulk of the season but Thad Matta’s team knows that doesn’t mean much if they don’t go deeper into the NCAA Tournament. Ohio State breezed through their opening round game against Loyola-Maryland and then fought off a tough Gonzaga team in the second round.  Against the Zags Deshaun Thomas 18 points and seven rebounds, Jared Sullinger had 18 points, Aaron Craft had 17 points and 10 assists, and William Buford had 13 points. As a team Ohio State shot 47.2 percent from the floor, 37.5 percent from beyond the three point arc, and they made 77.8 percent of their free throws. Over the course of the season Ohio State is 5-1 in neutral site games, 7-6 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they have played they eighth ranked schedule in the nation. Wins and numbers are nice things but for this Ohio State team they have much bigger goals this tournament.

The Cincinnati Bearcats have rode the momentum of their strong performance in the Big East Tournament and now Mick Cronin’s team has earned a spot in the Sweet 16 and a dream matchup for them as they get a crack at Ohio State. Cincinnati took out Texas in the first round and then beat a three seed in Florida State. Against the Seminoles Sean Kilpatrick had 18 points and six rebounds, Dion Dixon had 15 points, Yancy Gates had 10 points, and Jaquon Parker had nine points and 11 rebounds. As a team the Bearcats shot just 38 percent, 33.3 percent from beyond the three point arc, and they hit 82.6 percent of their free throws. Over the course of the regular season Cincinnati is 5-1 in neutral site games, 6-3 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the 66th ranked schedule in the nation. This is a huge game for the Cincinnati program as they don’t get too many chances to play in state OSU with the last meeting coming in 2006 and it was a 22 point loss.

Ohio State is 4-1 against the spread following a game which they didn’t cover. Cincinnati is 8-1 against the spread in their last nine games overall, 6-1 against the spread following a game which they covered, and 7-1 against the spread following a win.

The total for this one is set at 130.5 and it should slide over that number and that will be my pick.

Pick

Over 130.5

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