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No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts preview for NCAA Tournament first-round matchup

The No. 2 Ohio State and No. 15 Oral Roberts face off in the first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament. We’ve got an initial preview of what and how to watch following Selection Sunday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 13 Big Ten Tournament - Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NCAA Tournament begins on Thursday, March 18th with the First Four, and then moves on to the first round on Friday, March 15 and Saturday, March 16. No. 2 seed Ohio State will face No. 15 seed Oral Roberts in the first round. Game time has yet to be announced but we will update this article with that and game odds as soon as it comes available. For now, we’ve got a preliminary preview of the two teams to get you ready for March Madness!

Once the odds from DraftKings Sportsbook are made available for this game, we’ll add that information below. We’ll also add the game time and TV channel once it’s settled.

Game date: Friday, March 19
Game time: 3 p.m.
TV channel: CBS
Location: Mackey Arena

Odds: OSU -17.5
Over/Under: 154.5

No. 2 Ohio State

The Ohio State Buckeyes saw a drastic improvement to their team over the course of the 2020-21 regular season. Chris Holtmann’s team really turned it on in mid-January, which included a stretch where the Buckeyes won 10 of 11 games. Ohio State went from unranked to a top-five college basketball team. The Buckeyes rank No. 4 in adjusted offensive efficiency and just 76th on the defensive end.

Ohio State’s two best players are sophomore forward E.J. Liddell and junior guard Duane Washington Jr. as both average more than 15 points per game. Liddell also leads the Buckeyes in rebounding. Ohio State gets to the free throw line a ton, and the Buckeyes shoot 76.5% from the line, which is the best in the Big Ten this season. This could be a big factor in the NCAA Tournament.

Record: 21-8, 12-8 Big Ten
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 4
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 76
ATS: 16-12-1
Over Total: 16-12-1
Odds to win NCAA Championship: +1300

No. 15 Oral Roberts

The Oral Roberts Golden Eagles pulled off the unthinkable and won the Summit League championship on Tuesday night. ORU defeated the No. 1-seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits 90-88 in the semifinals. Then they took down the No. 3-seed North Dakota State in a 75-72 thriller to capture the automatic bid. The Golden Eagles are one of the better offensive teams in the country, averaging 81.8 points per game. On the defensive side, they are only allowing 75.8 points per game.

Sophomore guard Max Abmas and junior forward Kevin Obanor are the two players to watch out for in the NCAA Tournament. Abmas leads the team in scoring (24.2), assists (3.7), and steals (1.5). He is also shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range. Obanor is the Golden Eagles’ second-leading scorer with 18.2 points per game and has a team-leading 9.5 rebounds per game.

Record: 16-10
KenPom adjusted offensive efficiency: 75
KenPom adjusted defensive efficiency: 285
ATS: 14-9
Over Total: 16-7
Odds to win NCAA Championship: N/A