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Ohio State Favored vs. Top-Seeded Syracuse in Elite Eight
The East Region has gone according to plan as No. 1 Syracuse and No. 2 Ohio State face off Saturday night in Boston for a trip to the Final Four. The Buckeyes are 3-point favorites on Bovada’s NCAA basketball odds and there will be live play-by-play betting available.
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Syracuse (34-2) played another Big Ten team in the Sweet 16 and barely survived in beating Wisconsin 64-63. The Orange’s Kris Joseph missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 18 seconds to go with Syracuse up by a point, giving the Badgers a chance at the victory. But UW star Jordan Taylor missed a 3-pointer in the final seconds. Even without the ineligible Fab Melo, Syracuse dominated down low. Syracuse outscored Wisconsin 30-10 in the paint and is now 33-0 this season when it scores at least 20 points in the paint. It’s the Orange’s first trip to the Elite Eight since winning the national title behind Carmelo Anthony in 2003.
But Ohio State (30-7) has one of the nation’s top frontcourt players in Jared Sullinger. He had 23 points and 11 rebounds in the Buckeyes’ 81-66 Sweet 16 victory over Cincinnati. The Buckeyes went on a 17-1 run to take a 65-53 lead with just under six minutes remaining and never were threatened again. Deshaun Thomas led OSU with 26 points as the school is in a regional final for the first time since losing to Florida in the 2007 national championship game. Thomas, who averaged just over 15 points coming into the tournament, is shooting 56 percent from the field and has hit 7 of 15 from 3-point range. Hitting the 3-point shot will be key against Syracuse’s vaunted 2-3 zone – Wisconsin hit 14 3-pointers on Thursday.
OSU and Syracuse haven’t met since 2007. Syracuse has covered only two of its past 10 games overall. Ohio State has covered just once in the past five games where it was a favorite of 6.5 points or less.
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