Ohio St. Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange
The Ohio State Buckeyes and the Syracuse Orange meet on Saturday in Boston in the NCAA Tournament’s Elite 8 with the winner cutting down the nets and moving on to the Final Four in New Orleans. The Buckeyes are -3 point favorites over the Orange with an over/under point total set at 136.
It has been a journey for Thad Matta and his Ohio State Buckeyes but despite their ups and downs they are just one game away from appearing in the Final Four. Ohio State hasn’t always made it look easy this season or in this tournament but after beating Loyola-Maryland, Gonzaga, and Cincinnati they have done everything that has been asked of them this year. Ohio State went to the half up by 12 against Cincinnati only to find themselves trailing by three later in the game but then the Buckeyes turned it on and I am not sure any team in the country could have stopped them over that stretch. Deshaun Thomas had 26 points and seven rebounds, Jared Sullinger had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Lenzelle Smith had 15 points, and Aaron Craft had 11 points, five assists, and six steals. As a team Ohio State shot 48.2 percent from the floor, 47.1 percent from beyond the three point arc, and they hit 70.4 percent of their free throws. For the season the Buckeyes are 6-1 in neutral site games and 7-6 against teams ranked in the top 25 while playing the eighth ranked schedule in the nation. Consistency has been an issue for Ohio State and after three strong games do they stay on the roll or do they lay and egg, that is really the big question here.
The Syracuse Orange have been ranked in the top five all season long and despite some off the court troubles Jim Boeheim’s team are alive and well in the NCAA Tournament. After dominating performances against UNC-Ashville and Kansas State Syracuse beat Wisconsin by a point in a game that was as good as any and as well played as any ever. C.J. Fair led the Orange with 15 points and seven rebounds, Scoop Jardina had 14 points, Dion Waiters had 13 points, and Brandon Triche had 11. As a team Syracuse shot 55.1 percent from the floor, 55.6 percent from three point land, and 55.6 percent from the free throw line. Syracuse is 6-1 in neutral site games this year, 6-0 against teams ranked in the top 25, and they played the 23rd ranked schedule in the nation. This is going to be an outstanding match up but Syracuse’s bench will need to come up big as Ohio State will have advantages where Fab Melo is normally playing.
Ohio State is 5-2 against the spread in their last seven games against the Big East, 7-3 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games, and 5-2 against the spread against a team with a winning record. Syracuse is 2-7 against the spread following a win, 9-4 against the spread as an underdog of up to 6.5 points, and 1-5 against the spread in their last six neutral site games.
The total is set at 136 and that shouldn’t be an issue for these athletic teams and my pick is on the Over.