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No. 2 Ohio St. vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts preview, picks for first round of 2021 NCAA Tournament

The Ohio State Buckeyes and Oral Roberts Golden Eagles meet at Mackey Arena in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament. We’ve got everything you need on both teams ahead of the game here.

Ohio State Buckeyes guard CJ Walker (13) flexes after a score during the men’s Big Ten tournament college basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and Illinois Fighting Illini on March 14, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, IN. Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Update March 19: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts as of March 19th at 7 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Ohio State -16: 47% of action, 63% of bets
Oral Roberts +16: 53% of action, 37% of bets

Over 157: 76% of action, 51% of bets
Under 157: 24% of action, 49% of bets

Update March 18: Here are the updated bet splits for No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 15 Oral Roberts as of March 18th at 1:30 p.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Ohio State: -15.5: 43% of action, 65% of bets
Oral Roberts: +15.5: 57% of action, 35% of bets

Over 157: 86% of action, 56% of bets
Under 157: 14% of action, 44% of bets

Update March 17: Here are the updated bet splits for Ohio State vs. Oral Roberts as of March 17th at 11:00 a.m. from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Ohio State: -16.5: 41% of handle, 65% of bets
Oral Roberts: +16.5: 59% of handle, 35% of bets
Over: 157: 89% of handle, 59% of bets
Under: 157: 11% of handle, 41% of bets

Fresh off a run to the Big Ten Tournament championship game, the Ohio State Buckeyes will open the NCAA Tournament on Friday at 3 p.m. ET when taking on Summit League champion and 15-seed Oral Roberts.

The matchup will be broadcasted on CBS with Ohio State opening as a 17.5 point favorite.

No. 2 Ohio State: 21-9 (12-8 Big 10): At-large

KenPom rating: Overall 7, Offense 4, Defense: 79
NET ranking: 8, 9-7 vs. Quad 1
Leading scorer: Duane Washington (16.3 ppg)
Key stat: Only committing 10.2 turnovers per game, good for eighth in the nation.

The Chris Holtmann-led Buckeyes survived one of the toughest Big Ten slates in recent memory, making it all the way to the Big Ten Tournament championship game before falling in overtime to Illinois. The Buckeyes did knock off the Illini in the regular season as well as the likes of KenPom top-ten opponents in Iowa and Wisconsin, but ended the slate on a sour note by dropping four straight.

Three out of Ohio State’s four regular season matchups against KenPom opponents ranked 128 or lower ended with the Buckeyes cruising to a double-digit victory, so the key will be trying to get out to a fast start early.

No. 15 Oral Roberts: 16-10 (10-5 Summit League): Automatic Bid

KenPom rating: Overall 152, Offense 74, Defense 285
NET ranking: 158, 0-5 vs. Quad 1
Leading scorer: Max Abmas (24.4 ppg)
Key stat: Oral Roberts is shooting a nation-best 82.6 percent from the free throw line.

With the nation’s leading scorer Max Abmas in their arsenal, Oral Roberts was able to follow up a strong regular season outing with three hard-fought victories to claim the Summit League tournament title and an automatic bid to Indianapolis. While not owning a single Quad 1 or 2 victory, the Golden Eagles did put up decent fights against the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Arkansas, coming to within 14 points of each of those nearby power conference foes.

Look for Abmas and the ORU offense to try to take advantage of a decent but sometimes vulnerable Ohio State offense and try to make the two-seed sweat a little bit.

March Madness Odds from DraftKings Sportsbook

Point Spread: Ohio State -17.5
Point Total: 154.5
Moneyline: Ohio State -2500, Oral Roberts +1100

The Pick

Against The Spread Pick: Oral Roberts +17.5
Point total pick: Over 154.5
Pick to Win: Ohio State

Abmas and the Golden Eagles will be up to hang with the Buckeyes and while it will be a tall task to trigger and outright upset, they should be able to stay within the 17.5 range to cover. Expect a relatively high-scoring affair with the over hitting in this one.

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