#2 Ohio St Buckeyes
#6 Tennessee Volunters
Vegas Odds: Ohio St -4.5
How Ohio St Got Here: Ohio St 75 - Georgia Tech 66
How Tennessee Got Here: Tennessee 83 - Ohio 68
Why Watch? With Kansas out of the picture, both of these teams are thinking that a win here might decide a Final Four bid. Oddly enough, despite what the polls and seeding says.. it is Tennessee that has the higher RPI and a pair of wins over top 5 teams.
Why Tennessee will win:
In the computer rankings, Tennessee is actually ranked higher and has shown the ability to beat anyone (just ask Kansas & Kentucky). The Vols win due to physicality and stellar defense (they rank 7th nationally) and will certainly not be intimidated by the Buckeyes. Ohio St is 2-3 against RPI Top 10 teams, so they're far from a shoe in.
Volunteer to Watch:
JP Prince, G - 10 ppg, 4 rpg, 3 apg
On a team that often struggles to score, a 15-20 point effort from Prince can go a long way. The 6-7 guard has supreme physical gifts, but at times in his career has struggled to put it together. Since Tyler Smith got hurt, Prince has been playing his best basketball and he'll need to continue that trend here.
Why Ohio St will win:
OSU's lower RPI is misleading due to the Evan Turner injury (or so OSU fans will argue), and the statistics say this is a legit #1-seed quality team is in the top 25 of both offense & defense. With the likes of Diebler and Buford, not to mention Turner, OSU has a variety of offensive weapons that will help breakdown Tennessee's D. In the event the game is close, Ohio St has the trump card in Evan Turner.
Buckeye to Watch:
Jon Diebler, G - 13 ppg, 3 rpg, 2 apg
The Buckeyes have struggled when Diebler's struggled. With the exception of the Michigan game, he's had particularly bad shooting nights during the other 7 losses. He's been shooting the lights out the last 4 games (20 of 42 from three), but every shooter runs into a cold night.
How it will go down:
For whatever reason, when Tennessee loses.. they tend to lose by a lot. Against a solid Ohio St defense, its hard to see the Vols scoring more then 60 points or so, and unless Diebler & Turner have particularly bad nights, the Buckeys should come away with a 10 point win.
Betting Pick: Ohio St
Real Pick: Ohio St