Saturday’s second National Semifinal contest features another re-match as Ohio State and Kansas meet for the second time this season. The game between the Buckeyes and Jayhawks is scheduled for an 8:49pm ET start at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans; it will be broadcast live on CBS. The latest 2012 Final Four Odds have Ohio State listed as a -2.5 against the spread favorite and the Over/Under set at 136.5 points.
Ohio State traveled to Lawrence, Kansas in early December expecting a win over the Jayhawks, but the game did not go as planned for Thad Matta’s crew. Kansas beat the Buckeyes, who played without Jared Sullinger, 78-67 at Allen Fieldhouse.
Thomas Robinson scored 21 points (7-of-9 FG) and grabbed seven rebounds in the game while guards Travis Releford and Elijah Johnson combined for 25 points and seven boards. Tyshawn Taylor had seven turnovers in the game, but he added nine points and 13 assists.
Deshaun Thomas and William Buford led the Buckeye charge with Sullinger out; Thomas scored 19 points on 14 shots while Buford tallied a team high 21 on 23 field goal attempts.
This weekend’s game will feature almost entirely the same cast, but the result figures to be far different. Ohio State will have Sullinger in the lineup and the Jayhawks will not enjoy what is undoubtedly one of the best home court advantages in college basketball.
Saturday’s contest figures to be much closer given the Buckeyes performance through four NCAA Tournament games, but Kansas is a better team now than it was in early December. Jeff Withey, who has become a defensive star and a solid offensive contributor for the Jayhawks, logged just two points and two blocks (averaging 3.5 per game for the season) in the first meeting between these two teams. His elevated play will almost certainly serve as a partial neutralizer to Sullinger’s presence.
While almost everyone expects an Ohio State victory, a Kansas appearance in the final would be anything but shocking, especially if Taylor performs the way he did against North Carolina in the regional final. When Taylor is on, as he was against the Tar Heels (22 points, six rebounds, five assists, five steals), the Jayhawks are a nightmare match-up for almost any team.
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Ohio State vs Kansas 2012 Final Four Odds: Provided by Bovada.lv
Ohio State Buckeyes -2.5 (-110), Over 136.5 (-110)
Kansas Jayhawks +2.5 (-110), Under 136.5 (-110)