NCAA Preview: No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 1 Ohio State

Ohio State Buckeyes logoNo. 4 Kentucky (27-8 SU, 15-14-1 ATS) takes on No. 1 Ohio State (34-2 SU, 18-15 ATS) in one of the late Sweet Sixteen matchups on Friday night (9:45 p.m. ET, CBS).

The Buckeyes have looked like the best team in the country in wins over Texas-San Antonio and George Mason while Kentucky was fortunate to get past Princeton and West Virginia.

The Wildcats do have a lot of young talented players so they at least have a chance against the powerful Buckeyes.

Nevertheless, Ohio State is listed as a 6-point favorite at and the total is set at 140.5. On the moneyline, the Buckeyes are -260; the Wildcats are +220.

The Buckeyes have been very difficult to stop with their inside-outside combination. Jared Sullinger is a great inside player and Ohio State also has outside shooters like David Lighty, William Buford and Jon Diebler.

When Ohio State is hitting their shots from the outside they are virtually unbeatable because opposing teams can’t handle Sullinger inside and also guard the perimeter shooters. Sullinger leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 17.1 points per game and he is very difficult to stop.

Buford is second on the team in scoring at 14.6 points per game and David Lighty is not far behind at 12.1 points per game. Not to be forgotten is Jon Diebler who is the best three-point shooter in Big Ten history.

Kentucky will counter with Brandon Knight who scored a career-high 30 points in the win over West Virginia. Knight must have another great game if Kentucky is to have a chance to win.

The Buckeyes were beaten only twice all season and when it happened it was opposing guards who had big games. Jordan Taylor had 27 points for Wisconsin as the Badgers beat the Buckeyes and E’Twaun Moore scored 38 in Purdue’s win over Ohio State.

Here are some key college basketball betting stats for Friday’s game:

The Wildcats are 4-0 ATS in their last four games as an underdog. The Wildcats are 4-1 ATS in their last five vs. Big Ten.

The Buckeyes are 5-0 ATS in their last five non-conference games. The Buckeyes are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. the SEC. The Buckeyes are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as a favorite.

The under is 5-1-1 in the Wildcats’ last seven overall. The under is 5-2 in the Wildcats’ last seven vs. the Big Ten.

The over is 6-2-1 in the Buckeyes’ last nine games as a favorite. The over is 9-3 in the Buckeyes’ last 12 NCAA Tournament games.

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