West Region Third Round: #10 Ohio State Buckeyes vs #2 Arizona Wildcats

2015 NCAA Tournament
West Region – Third Round
#2 Arizona Wildcats vs #10 Ohio State Buckeyes
Moda Center – Portland, Oregon
Saturday, March 21, 2015, 5:15 pm Eastern, TV: CBS
Opening Line: Arizona -9
Current Line: Arizona -9
Opening Total: 139
Current Total: 139
Opening Money Line: Arizona -475 / Ohio State +380
Current Money Line: Arizona -500 / Ohio State +400

Arizona is a 9 point favorite against Ohio State Saturday in Portland.
Arizona is a 9 point favorite against Ohio State Saturday in Portland.

For the second time in three seasons, the 32-3 Arizona Wildcats and 24-10 Ohio State Buckeyes meet in the NCAA Tournament as they meet in the West region third round Saturday in Portland, Oregon. Ohio State beat Arizona 73-70 in the 2013 Sweet 16 in Los Angeles. The Buckeyes also won the previous meeting in 1971. The winner of #2 seed Arizona and #10 Ohio State will face either  #6 Xavier or #14 Georgia State in the Sweet 16 next week in Los Angeles.

Ohio State finished sixth in the Big Ten at 11-7. The Buckeyes beat #7 seed VCU 75-72 in overtime Thursday to advance to this game. Ohio State is making their 9th trip to the NCAA Tournament in the last 10 seasons. The Buckeyes went 3-9 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

Arizona won the Pac 12 regular season title with a  16-2 record and also won the Pac 12 Tournament. The Wildcats beat #15 Texas Southern 93-72 in the second round Thursday. Arizona has won 12 straight games. The Wildcats are making their 29th appearance in the NCAA Tournament since 1985. Arizona went 10-0 against NCAA Tournament teams this season.

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Ohio State is coached by Thad Matta. The Buckeyes have road losses at Louisville, Indiana, Iowa, Purdue, Michigan State and Michigan, neutral site losses to North Carolina in Chicago and Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament also in Chicago, plus home losses to Iowa and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes have home wins over Marquette, James Madison, Colgate, Miami-(OH), Wright State, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Maryland, Penn State, Nebraska, and Purdue, plus road wins at Minnesota, Northwestern, Rutgers, and Penn State plus a neutral site win over Minnesota in the Big Ten Tournament. Ohio State is 15-17-1 ATS and the total is 17-14-1 this season. The Buckeyes were 3.5 point favorites against VCU and the total was 138.

Arizona is coached by Sean Miller. The Wildcats have road losses at UNLV, Oregon State and Arizona State.  Arizona has home wins over CS-Northridge, UC-Irvine, Gonzaga, Michigan, Oakland, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, UCLA, California and Stanford. The Wildcats also have neutral sight wins over Missouri, Kansas State and San Diego State in the Maui Invitational, Cal, UCLA and Oregon in the Pac 12 Tournament, and road wins over UTEP, Oregon, Stanford, California, Washington, Washington State, Colorado and Utah. Arizona is 22-13 ATS and the total is 16-19 this season. The Wildcats were 23.5 point favorites against Texas State and the total was 134.5.

Ohio State is outscoring teams 76-62 this season. The Buckeyes are #24 in scoring nationally. Ohio State is shooting 48.6% from the field and 37.2% from 3 point range. The Buckeyes are #9 nationally in field goal percentage. OSU makes 67.8% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 40.5% from the field and 31.8% from 3 point range. Ohio State averages 35.8 rebounds per game and opponents average 29.9. The Buckeyes average 15.4 assists, 11.3 turnovers, 7.8 steals and 5.1 blocks per game. Opponents average 12.9 assists, 14.7 turnovers, 5 steals and 2.8 blocks per game.

D’Angelo Russell averages 19.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, 5.1 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. Sam Thompson averages 10.2 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Marc Loving averages 9.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Jae’Sean Tate averages 8.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Shannon Scott averages 8.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.8 steals per game. Five other players average at least 10 minutes a game in the rotation. Forward Anthony Lee is questionable with a knee injury.

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Arizona is outscoring teams 77-59 this season. The Wildcats are #20 in scoring and #15 in points allowed nationally. Arizona is shooting 49.3% from the field and 36.2% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #9 in field goal percentage nationally. Arizona makes 67.6% of their free throws. Opponents are shooting 39.4% from the field and 33.1% from 3 point range. The Wildcats are #31 nationally in field goal defense. Arizona averages 37.2 rebounds per game and opponents average 24.7 per game. The Wildcats are #1 nationally in rebounds allowed and #46 in rebounding. Arizona averages 14.2 assists, 11.2 turnovers, 7.2 steals and 3.6 blocks per game. Opponents average 9.7 assists, 14 turnovers, 4.7 steals and 2.6 blocks per game.

Forward Stanley Johnson averages 14.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. Brandon Ashley averages 12.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson averages 11.3 points, 6.9 rebounds 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.1 blocks per game. T.J. McConnell averages 9.9 points, 3.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Kaleb Tarczewski averages 9.2 points and 5 rebounds per game. Gabe York averages 8.9 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.  Guard Trey Mason is out indefinitely with a knee injury.

Ohio State is 10-3-1 ATS after failing to cover, 2-5 against teams with winning records, 2-7 in Saturday games, 1-4 after a straight up win, 2-11 in neutral site games, and 0-5 in NCAA Tournament games.

Arizona is 4-0 ATS after failing to cover, 5-1 against Big Ten teams, 11-3 against teams with winning records, 14-4 overall, 13-4 after a straight up win, 6-2 in Saturday games, 9-4 after scoring more than 90 points, and 1-4 in NCAA Tournament games.

Ohio State probably shouldn’t have been seeded so low as a #10 seed, but they aren’t nearly as talented as Arizona. The Buckeyes were drilled by 24 points against Wisconsin two weeks ago, and I could see a similar score here. The Wildcats should roll.

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