The upstart No. 13 seed Ohio Bobcats were one of the surprises of the opening round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament, and will face the No. 5 seed Creighton Blue Jays in a West Region contest in the second round Monday.
Tip-off is scheduled for 6:10 p.m. on TNT from legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse on the campus of Butler University.
No. 13 Ohio: 17-7 (9-5 MAC)
First round result: Defeated No. 4 seed Virginia 62-58
KenPom rating: 78 Overall, 30 Offense, 152 Defense
NET ranking: 87, (1-2 VS Quad 1)
Leading scorer: Jason Preston (16.6 ppg)
Key stat: Ohio dishes out 17.9 assists per game, good for seventh in Division I
The No. 13 seed Bobcats pulled off the unthinkable. a 62-58 upset victory over the No. 4 seed and defending national champion Cavaliers Saturday night. Ohio got a huge game not from Preston, but from Ben Vander Plas. Vander Plas scored a game-high 17 points (7-15 FG, 3-9 3pt), while Preston just fell two assists short of a triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists.
They held the ACC regular season champs to just 8-31 from three point range, but with UVA only arriving the night before after a long quarantine after positive COVID-19 tests at the ACC Tournament, the win should be looked at with a slightly jaundiced eye by wagerers.
But the Bobcats are hoping that they can bring their perimeter defense over to the second round on Monday. Ohio held Virginia to 35% shooting from the field overall.
First round result: Defeated No. 12 seed UC-Santa Barbara 63-62
KenPom rating: 24 OVERALL, 16 OFFENSE, 42 DEFENSE
NET ranking: 26, (7-3 VS QUAD 1)
Leading scorer: Marcus Zegarowski (15.5 ppg)
Key stat: The Blue Jays are shooting 64.2% from the free-throw line, good for 327th in the nation
The Blue Jays survived a potential upset alert from the Gauchos on Saturday, escaping with a 63-62 ticket out of the first round. Zegarowski stepped up big-time for Creighton, scoring 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and 3-of-6 from three-point range. However he did not do it all by himself, as Christian Bishop produced a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, included a couple of free-throws made towards the end of the game.
The Blue Jays stopped UCSB’s best player Jaquori McLaughlin in his tracks. McLaughlin only had 13 points, but still found multiple ways to affect the game and keep his team in it.
March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook
Point spread: Creighton -6
Point total: 150
Moneyline: Creighton -220, Ohio +180
Against The Spread Pick: Ohio +6
Point total pick: Under 150
Pick to Win: Ohio
The Blue Jays staved off elimination in the first round, but I believe they will be sent home by the Bobcats on Monday. Ohio looked good on both ends of the floor against the Cavaliers and more importantly, they executed down the stretch. This game will likely come down to the wire with Jason Preston being more of a scorer.
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