Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Kansas Jayhawks
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Kansas Jayhawks meet for game two of the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in New Orleans. The Buckeyes are -2.5 point favorites over the Jayhawks with an over/under point total set at 134.5.
The Ohio State Buckeyes have had one goal all season long and that was to make the Final Four and to win the National Championship and while Thad Matta’s team has made the Final Four they are two wins away from a championship. OSU has been impressive thus far in the tourney knocking off Loyola-Maryland in round one and then beating a tough Gonzaga team before beating Cincinnati and Syracuse. For the season the Buckeyes are averaging 75 points and they are shooting 48 percent while defensively they are allowing 59.7 points and their opponents shoot 40.6 percent. Jared Sullinger is averaging 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds, Deshaun Thomas is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 rebounds, William Buford has averaged 14.4 points but he has gone cold and Lenzelle Smith has picked it up while Aaron Craft has been an emotional leader and one of the nation’s best defenders is playing his best defense of the season. Ohio State lost earlier this season at Kansas in a game that Sullinger didn’t play in and with it being on the road it would be tough to call it any kind of indicator for this one.
The Kansas Jayhawks didn’t look to be in very good shape when they lost in the Big 12 Tournament to Baylor and lost their shot at a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament in the process but Bill Self’s team has done what they need to do and are back in the Final Four. Kansas looked convincing against Detroit in the first round before squeaking by Purdue and North Carolina State by three points each and then in the Regional Semifinal they turned a close game against North Carolina into a one sided affair. For the season Kansas averages 74.2 points, 15.2 assists, and they shoot 47.6 percent while defensively they allow just 61.6 points and their opponents shoot 38 percent. Thomas Robinson is averaging 17.7 points and 11.8 rebounds, Tyshawn Taylor is averaging 16.7 points and 4.6 assists, and Elijah Johnson averages 10 points. The Jayhawks expectation every year is to be in this spot so they will not be overwhelmed by the big stage.
Ohio State is 6-2 against the spread in the last eight games overall, 2-11 against the spread in their last 13 games against the Big Ten, and 0-4 against the spread following a cover. Ohio State is 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 games as a neutral site favorite, 2-8 against the spread in their last 10 NCAA Tournament games as a favorite of up to 6.5 points, and 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four games against the Big 12.
Look for this one to be a war with Robinson and Sullinger, Taylor and Craft, and so on and look for fouls to be plenty and points to be few and for that reason I see the under as being the play.