The Second Round of the NCAA Tournament contest between the No. 3 Houston Cougars (32-3) and the No. 11 Ohio State Buckeyes (20-14) will take place at Bank of Oklahoma Center. Houston is a 6-point favorite on the opening line, while the game’s Over/Under (O/U) opened at 131.5 points. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:40 p.m. ET on Sunday, March 24, 2019.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Houston Cougars ATS Preview
In the First Round, the Buckeyes barely escaped the No. 6 Iowa State Cyclones, 62-59. Kaleb Wesson led Ohio State in scoring with 21 points on 8-for-15 shooting. Ohio State played a nearly perfect game. They had a solid offensive rebounding percentage of 32.4 (above their season average of 27.7) and a free throw rate of 0.190 (matching their season average). For those same stats, Iowa State recorded marks of 18.8 and 0.132, respectively.
The Cougars hope to keep it rolling after blowing out the No. 14 Georgia State Panthers in the First Round, 84-55. Houston received a boost from Corey Davis Jr., who was the top scorer from either team with 26 points on 9-for-22 shooting. The Cougars held the Panthers to an offensive rebounding percentage of 15.6 (below their season average of 23.6) and had an effective field goal percentage of 0.578 (above their season average of 0.521).
Half-court execution will be critical when two of the nation’s slowest-paced teams battle. Houston currently ranks 278th in possessions per game (67.0) and Ohio State is 295th (66.6).
Of Ohio State’s 34 games, 18 have finished over the O/U total, while 21 of Houston’s 35 games have finished under the projected point total. The Cougars come into this game with much better straight up (SU) and against the spread (ATS) records. They are 32-3 SU and 21-12-2 ATS, while the Buckeyes are 20-14 SU and 15-19 ATS.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Houston Cougars Prediction
Prediction: SU Winner – Houston, ATS Winner – Houston, O/U – Under
Houston ranks 44th in steals allowed per game (5.3) while Ohio State ranks 118th (6.1).
The Cougars’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 15.0, up from 14.8 for the season.
During their last five games, the Buckeyes have scored an average of 65.6 points per game (3.8 below their season average) and allowed an average of 70.4 points per game (4.4 above their season average).