Ohio State Buckeyes (20-11) vs. Villanova Wildcats (27-7)
March 20, 2022 2:40 pm EDT
The Line: Villanova Wildcats -5 / Ohio State Buckeyes +5; Over/Under: 132.5
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The 7-seed Ohio State Buckeyes & 2-seed Villanova Wildcats will square off at PPG Paints Arena this Sunday in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament – South Region.
The 7-seed Ohio State Buckeyes improved to 20-11 on the season after defeating the 10-seed Loyola Chicago Ramblers, 54-41, on Friday. Ohio State was outstanding defensively against the Loyola Chicago and was able to hold off the Ramblers after taking a 37-23 lead with 13:03 left in regulation. Ohio State shot 41.9% from the field & 6.7% from beyond the arc while holding Loyola Chicago to just 26.8% shooting from the field & 28.6% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Buckeyes was E.J. Liddell who had a double-double with 16 points, 10 rebounds, 1 assist, & 3 blocks.
Coming into their game against Loyola Chicago, Ohio State was averaging 73.8 ppg on 47.4% shooting from the field. The Buckeyes were averaging 8.1 three-pointers per game on 37.3% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Ohio State has been led by E.J. Liddell (19.6 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 2.5 apg), Malaki Branham (13.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.9 apg), Kyle Young (8.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.3 apg), & Jamari Wheeler (7.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.0 apg, 1.3 spg).
Defensviely, Ohio State is allowing their opponents to average 68.5 ppg on 41.9% shooting from the field. The Buckeyes have a rebound margin of 2.3 and a turnover margin of -0.9.
The 2-seed Villanova Wildcats improved to 27-7 on the season after defeating the 15-seed Delaware Blue Hens, 80-60, on Friday. Villanova got off to a slow start against Delaware, however, the Wildcats closed out the 1st half on an 8-0 run to take a 35-25 halftime lead and was able to pull away after taking a 57-37 lead with 14:26 left in regulation. Villanova shot 50.9% from the field & 46.4% from beyond the arc while allowing Delaware to shot 44.0% from the field & 15.0% from beyond the arc. Leading the way for the Wildcats was Justin Moore who had 21 points, 3 rebounds, 6 assists, & 1 steal.
Coming into their game against Delaware, Villanova was averaging 72.6 ppg on 43.7% shooting from the field. The Wildcats were averaging 9.3 three-pointers per game on 35.9% shooting from beyond the arc. Offensively, Villanova has been led by Collin Gillespie (15.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.1 spg), Justin Moore (15.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.0 spg), Jermaine Samuels (10.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.5 apg), & Brandon Slater (9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.7 apg, 1.1 spg).
Defensively, prior to their game against Delaware, Villanova was holding their opponents to an average of 63.1 ppg on 40.8% shooting from the field. The Wildcats had a rebound margin of 2.6 and a turnover margin of 2.1.
The Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as an underdog & 5-1 ATS in their last 6 neutral sites as an underdog. The Wildcats are 17-5 ATS in their last 22 NCAA Tournament games & 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS win.
Ohio State has been solid on both ends of the court this season as the Buckeyes come into this game ranked 105th in scoring offense, 31st in FG%, & 154th in scoring defense. Villanova has been led by their defense which ranks t-26th in scoring defense, 44th in defensive FG%, & 57th in turnover margin, however, despite being a solid three-point shooting team, the Wildcats come into this game ranking 137th in scoring offense & 202nd in FG%.
Villanova is a solid team, however, Ohio State is getting healthy at the right time, and we know they have the talent to take out big teams as we saw in victories over Duke, Wisconsin, & Illinois this season. Ohio State is going to have a hard time pulling out the win, however, I think this is a competitive game that comes down to the final possession and that Ohio State does enough to cover with the points. Good Luck!