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Tennessee vs Ohio State Picks – Volunteers, Buckeyes Meet In Sweet 16

Posted by Washington Tucker on 3/22/2010 2:37:48 PM
NCAA Basketball Odds: Ohio State -4.5

The elimination of Kansas University, the NCAA national title tournament’s number one overall seed, has left the Midwest bracket wide open for the four teams that have reached the Sweet 16. The highest remaining seed, Ohio State, will look to do better than Ohio, after its fellow in-state school fell to Tennessee 83-68 in the second round. The Volunteers actually looked stronger in their second round victory than they did in the opening round, and are playing with as much confidence as they have all season..

Tennessee vs Ohio State betting odds: Ohio State -4.5
  • What: NCAA Basketball Betting
  • When: Friday March 26th – 7:05 PM ET
  • Where: Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, MI
  • Key Stat: Buckeyes are 13-6 ATS when facing a team with a winning record this year

After getting blown away by Kentucky 74-45 in the semi finals of the South East Conference title tournament, Tennessee has bounced back to reach the Sweet 16 with wins over San Diego State and Ohio. Volunteers’ head coach Bruce Pearl has done an excellent job overcoming early season suspensions and distractions from a New Year’s Day incident that involved guns, drugs and alcohol that left his team with just six scholarship players before March Madness predictions. An 18-2 run, eight minutes in to the first half gave Tennessee a lead they would not relinquish against Ohio, leading to its third Sweet 16 appearance in the last four years.

Ohio State has looked unstoppable on its run through the Big Ten and through the opening two rounds of March Madness. The Buckeyes have won nine in a row, including registering the largest victory margin in a Big Ten title game by dropping Minnesota 90-61. Their first two wins of the national title tournament have come by a combined 16-point margin, and with Midwest favorite Kansas’ early dismissal the Buckeyes are now the clear favorites to advance to the Final Four. The winner of this game will meet the winner of Northern Iowa-Michigan State for an opportunity at Indianapolis.

Offensive Matchups

After stumbling a bit offensively in their tournament opener against the Aztecs, the Volunteers hit their stride against Ohio with an 83-point effort. The backcourt tandem of J.P. Prince and Scotty Hopson combined for 35 points while shooting identical 7-for-9 marks from the field. Prince provided the more complete effort with three assists and four rebounds while center Brian Williams provided his scorers with a few second-chance opportunities by leading his squad with four offensive rebounds, 12 total. Forward Wayne Chism also grabbed 12 boards for a Tennessee group that dominated its opponent in the paint, outscoring the Bobcats 58-12 down low. Seven players logged a minimum 15 minutes of playing time.

Meanwhile, guard Evan Turner continued to make his case as the top player in college ball this season by shaking off one of the worst shooting night’s of his career with a 24-point effort in the Buckeyes’ 75-66 win over Georgia Tech. Turner was one rebound and one assist away from recording the triple-double, however the 6’7 junior must improve his ball security after turning the rock over nine times in the win, and not let it become a March Madness trends. Guard Jon Diebler and forward David Lighty had 20 and 18-point efforts respectively, proving that Ohio State is more than just a one-trick pony. Ball security wasn’t just an issue for the Big Ten player of the year, the Buckeyes turned the ball over a combined 18 times.

While Turner has the potential to steal a game when he is on, both he and his teammates have shown glimpses of weakness in the first two games of the tournament, while the Volunteers have risen to the task in almost every big game this season. Still, Tennessee’s offense will have to be at its best just to match Ohio State’s attack.

Betting Edge: Ohio State

Defensive Matchups

Tennessee’s domination of the Bobcats in the paint was more than just a testament to its offense, but also a testament to its ability to protect the house on defense. The Volunteers out-muscled both of their opponents in the first two rounds of March Madness, and have forced an average of 12 turnovers a game.

Although Ohio State had several miscues on offense, its defensive pressure forced Georgia Tech in to even more turnovers. The Yellow Jackets turned the ball over an awful 21 times, which was eight more times than they did in their opening round win over Oklahoma State, an illustration of the pressure the Buckeyes provided. Turner’s size can provide mismatches, which is a big reason why he led his team with three steals and six defensive rebounds.

Betting Edge: Ohio State

Injuries:

Neither team has any significant injuries entering Sweet 16 play that online betting cappers should worry about.

Betting Predictions: Tennessee vs Ohio State

With the top-ranked Jayhawks early dismissal at the hands of ninth-seeded Northern Iowa, both teams have a golden opportunity to make a run through the Midwest bracket on the road to Indianapolis. The Volunteers have already overcome so much on their way to a berth in the Sweet 16, and are playing with the confidence and poise of a Final Four team. Head coach Bruce Pearl commands respect, and his players have bought in to his philosophy. Ohio State is now the favorite to emerge from this bracket as the top remaining seed, but will need to limit the turnovers they have been able to overcome against weaker opponents, but will not be able to get away with against Tennessee. Evan Turner has established himself as arguably the nation’s best player, and can further justify that assertion by providing his team with an effort similar to the 24-point showing he displayed in the win over Georgia Tech.

Washington’s Pick: Ohio State -4.5

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