Elite 8 Predictions: Wichita St. vs. Ohio St. March Madness 3/30

Last Updated: March 30th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Wichita State ShockersThe nets are going to be coming down at Staples Center on Saturday night, as either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Wichita State Shockers are going to be off to the Final Four in Atlanta. Join us for our Elite Eight predictions, as we analyze the March Madness odds for what should be a remarkable clash between David and Goliath in the West Regional Final.

March Madness: Wichita State Shockers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Wichita State vs. Ohio State Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Wichita State vs. Ohio State Date/Time: Friday, March 29th, 7:05 p.m. ET
March Madness Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Someone on Wichita State is going to have to put a body on Deshaun Thomas
Can anyone stop this guy? We’ve been talking about Ohio State for weeks now, and the man that is always in the center of the discussion is Thomas. This is a man with great range, is lanky, can score from anywhere on the court, and can play defense as well. He’s legitimately got every tool in the bag that you would ask from a college basketball player, and he hasn’t been stopped here in the dance. Thomas put up 20 against Arizona on Thursday night, and he now has 20, 22, and 24 points in his three NCAA Tournament games. Wichita State has seen a lot of great players along the way, including a potential National Player of the Year in F Kelly Olynyk. However, Olynyk scored 26 points and put up nine boards against the Shockers as well. WSU has to do a better job on Thomas than it did on Olynyk if it realistically wants to have any chance of surviving against a very athletic team.

Wichita State vs. Ohio State Odds at Diamond Sportsbook
#9 Wichita State Shockers +4.5
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes -4.5
Over/Under 130
Click Here to Bet Your Elite 8 Picks!

Key #2: See the three. Be the three.
The three-point line is always crucial in these NCAA Tournament games, and the reason that Ohio State has survived to this point is because of the long range shot. The Buckeyes would have probably been knocked out of the dance in the first weekend by Iowa State had they not knocked down nine three-point shots, including the one by G Aaron Craft that won the game essentially at the gun. Ohio State is now knocking down a whopping 50.0 percent of its three-point shots, and it is averaging over seven threes per game. That’s a far shout from where the team was for most of the season. The Buckeyes were shooting just 35% from long range prior to the dance this season. Wichita State meanwhile, has been all over the place from beyond the arc in the dance. The team went a very respectable 5-of-12 against La Salle on Thursday, and that’s about what we are expecting to see again on Saturday. However, if there is an extreme to be seen from long range, we’ve seen both ends of it with the Missouri Valley reps. Wichita State hit 14-of-28 from downtown against Gonzaga in the Round of 32, but that came on the heels of hitting just 2-of-20 against Pittsburgh in the second round of the dance. As is usually the case, whichever team can stroke the three more successfully is going to be the one to watch out for come Saturday.

Diamond Sportsbook

Key #3: Ohio State needs to make a renewed effort defensively
Understandably, NCAA Tournament games tend to be a little odd by nature. Teams have to do things that they aren’t used to doing just to advance, games sometimes take a little while to get going, and every now and again, you see just a ton of scores in the final three minutes of the game or so as one team is trying to make a feverish comeback on the other. For Ohio State though, it is extremely odd to see a team scoring 70 points against it. During the regular season, it only happened seven times in 36 games. Now all of a sudden, all three teams here in the NCAA Tournament that it has faced have been able to get to 70. It’s a Catch-22 for sure. While we’re thrilled to see the Buckeyes do a heck of a lot better on the offensive end of the court, we don’t think that they can win a National Championship if they continue to play defense like this. They’ll need to really buckle down on Saturday against the Shockers, as the challenges are getting more and more difficult on the road to the Final Four.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Saturday, March 30th, 2013 @ 8:56 am (EST)
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