Ohio State faces Loyola (Md.) in the 2-vs.-15 game in the East Regional Thursday night.
The Buckeyes, who tied for first in the Big Ten this season before losing the conference tournament championship game Sunday to Michigan State, are favored by 17.5 points over the Greyhounds, who won the Metro Atlantic Conference tournament.
This game is being played at a neutral-site court (Consol Energy Center). Ohio State is just 2-5 ATS in it past 7 first-round games in the tournament.
Ohio State battles the Greyhounds, currently sitting with a 24-8 mark (14-11-1 ATS). The OVER/UNDER records, always important for totals bettors, are 17-12-1 for the Buckeyes and 8-18 for the Greyhounds.
Sportsbooks had the Buckeyes installed as 18-point favorites in this particular matchup
Power Rankings / Prediction:
The Power Rankings at Odds Shark show No. 147-rated Loyola taking on the No. 4-rated Buckeyes in this contest. The scores prediction computer here indicates a possible 82-70 win for the Buckeyes on Thursday.
How They Match Up:
In the paint, the rebound battle will feature Ohio State's No. 52-rated squad against Loyola's No. 124-rated roster. And in long-range shooting, Ohio State rates No. 299 in the country with 4.9 per game, while their foes tonight rank No. 287 nationally with 5 per match.
Defensively, Loyola features the nation's No. 68-rated defense on the road, allowing 65.4 points per game. Ohio State, meanwhile, comes in at No. 48 nationally in scoring at home.
Loyola won its last outing, a 48-44 result against Fairfield on March 5. They covered in that game as a 2.5-point underdog. The Greyhounds grabbed a 48-44 win over the Stags on Monday, behind a 10-point effort from Erik Etherly at MassMutual Center.
Last time out for Ohio State, they were a 68-64 loser as they battled Michigan State on the road. They failed to cover in the match as a 2-point favorite. Ohio State suffered a 68-64 loss against Michigan State on Sunday, getting 18 points from Jared Sullinger in a losing effort at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Loyola Greyhounds Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 1-9
After playing Fairfield are 1-9
After a win are 8-2
Ohio State Buckeyes Trends:
When playing on Thursday are 7-3
After playing Michigan State are 6-4
After a loss are 10-0
A few Greyhounds at Buckeyes trends to consider:
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Ohio State's last 7 games
Ohio State is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games