The Syracuse Orange and Ohio State Buckeyes have survived through the NCAA Tournament’s East bracket, with Saturday night’s clash between the pair of top-seeded foes looming for the right of reaching the Final Four.

Syracuse has logged a 1-2 spread record in its trio of tourney duels, holding its rivals to 62.3 PPG, while Ohio State has put up 77.3 PPG en route to the ‘over’ cashing at 3-0. 

NCAA Basketball odds makers opened Ohio State as a 2.5 point favorite, despite its lower No. 2 seed, while juicing the premium on Syracuse at minus 113. Early NCAA Basketball betting action has increased the spread at many sportsbooks, as the Buckeyes can now be found at -3. The rivals have not met since 2007, when the Buckeyes came away with a 79-65 victory as two-point road dogs.

Orange get past Wisky 

Syracuse vs. Ohio StateSyracuse staged a late 8-4 run to notch Thursday’s 64-63 win as a three-point favorite against the Wisconsin Badgers. The Orange saw an early 10-point lead erased, while rallying to connect 55.1 percent of their field buckets. 

Orange forward C.J. Fair logged team-highs of 15 points and seven boards, while adding four steals. Fair’s mate Scoop Jardine finished with 14 points and four of his squad’s five assists, draining 2-of-3 shots beyond the arc. 

The battle’s combined 127 points leaped above the ‘total’ of 119.5, ending a 2-0 ‘under’ streak from Syracuse’s prior two games. Orange guard Dion Waiters recorded 13 points off the bench, including a clutch layup and jumper in the second half. 

Buckeyes roll by Cincy 

Ohio State got through a wild second half in Thursday’s 81-66 victory as an eight-point favorite against the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Buckeyes lost a 12-point halftime lead in the duel’s first five minutes following the break, while a late 17-1 run brought Thad Matta’s squad back in command. 

Ohio State’s Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith united for 41 points, connecting 6-of-9 buckets from three-point land. The duo’s mate Jared Sullinger logged 23 points and 11 boards, finishing with a second double-double in three games. 

The contest’s combined 147 points leaped ‘over’ the ‘total’ of 128.5. Ohio State sank 19-of-27 free throws, including Sullinger’s 9-for-10 night at the charity stripe. 

Back the Buckeyes as ‘chalk’ 

Saturday’s tip is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. (ET), with CBS providing the national television coverage from Boston’s TD Garden.

Ohio State vs. SyracuseI am adding Ohio State minus the points to my NCAA Basketball picks, looking for the Buckeyes to continue their momentum with another sizable victory here. Sullinger and Co. have cashed with a 5-2 spread record in their last seven contests, while Syracuse enters the “Elite Eight” on a 2-7 ATS slide in its last nine games. 

Thomas has notched a stellar 24.5 PPG and 9.5 RPG throughout the “Big Dance” for Ohio State, while Sullinger’s scoring has surged upward in each of his squad’s three battles. Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft has been one of the tourney’s top shooters, connecting from the field at 72.7 percent, while also logging sizable numbers in assists (7 APG) and steals (3 SPG). 

Syracuse found itself unable to outrebound Wisconsin, setting Jim Boeheim’s crew up for a similar spot here. The Orange are unlikely to make up for the lack of boards with the same kind of lights-out shooting reached against the Badgers. Ohio State has held foes below the 70-point barrier in its last five games, coming out on top in its share of low-octane affairs all season in the Big Ten.

Oddsmakers have not listed Syracuse as an underdog all year until now, while Ohio State has cashed at 7-3 ATS in its last 10 neutral-site contests as a favorite. Look for the Buckeyes to get the money here, advancing to “The Big Easy” next weekend.

My Pick: Ohio State