NCAA Basketball Picks: Wichita State vs. Ohio State

David Lawrence

Friday, March 29, 2013 3:55 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 29, 2013 3:55 PM UTC

The Wichita State Shockers have made the Elite Eight for the first time since 1981. Can they upend the Ohio State Buckeyes this Saturday to go all the way to the Final Four?

College Basketball Betting – Wichita State vs. Ohio State Picks

Wichita State can win because…

It was not pushed hard in its regional semifinal win over La Salle on Thursday night, and should therefore be physically and mentally fresh for this contest against Ohio State. Realize this point about the Shockers: They won their round of 64 game by 18 points against Pittsburgh and did not have to overextend their starters heading into a round of 32 contest against Gonzaga, which they won. The NCAA tournament is a six-game tournament, but part of the secret sauce for succeeding in the event is the ability to handle each weekend as a separate test. Teams have to play and win two games in three days at three different sites in order to win the tournament. Being able to win the first game with minimal stress and strain definitely helps a team to play the second game on more even terms. Wichita State would very likely lose a best-of-seven series against Ohio State, but in this one-shot situation, the Shockers are entirely capable of winning. Ohio State has played its last two games on the edge, being tied with an opponent heading into the final 10 seconds of regulation before winning on a three-point shot. If Ohio State doesn't hit threes in this game, Wichita State will have a very strong chance of winning and covering the NCAA basketball odds.

Ohio State can win because…

It is a team that is coming through in pressure-packed moments and cash in on the NCAA basketball picks. First, it was the Big Ten Tournament semifinal against Michigan State. Then it was the Big Ten Tournament championship game against Wisconsin, another contest that went down to the wire. Ohio State passed those two tests, and the Buckeyes have managed to build on that momentum in the NCAA tournament. Last-second wins over Iowa State this past Sunday and Arizona on Thursday have only reinforced this team's confidence, an unshakable belief that it can rise above tense situations to deliver its best basketball when it needs to produce. Deshaun Thomas was terrific in the first 25 minutes of Thursday's win over Arizona. He carried the Buckeyes when no one else was stepping up. Had Thomas not flourished in the first half, Arizona would have led by 12 or 14 points at halftime instead of only four (38-34). That's how a superstar player is supposed to perform under pressure. Then, in the second half, LaQuinton Ross took over, hitting a stream of layups and throwing in an occasional three. Ross gave Ohio State the main secondary scorer the team has needed all season long, ensuring that Thomas doesn't have to be the only source of production at the offensive end of the floor.

As long as Ohio State gets a strong game from at least two separate scorers on Saturday, Wichita State's defense will not be able to take too many chances, and that will hurt the Shockers in the long run. They have no one who can defend Thomas, so as long as Ross or anyone else is hitting shots, Thomas can't be double-teamed very often.


Outlook & College Basketball Betting Prediction:

This figures to be an Ohio State romp. Wichita State is here because it drew Gonzaga in the round of 32. Had the Shockers faced a tougher No. 1 seed, they probably wouldn't be in this game. Ohio State has beaten tougher foes to arrive in the Elite Eight. The Buckeyes have too much of everything for the Shockers.

College Basketball Pick: Ohio State -5.5 at TheGreek

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