The Ohio State Buckeyes are one win away from a return trip to the Final Four and favored by 4.5 points in most sportsbooks.
The Wichita State Shockers are one win away from providing another upset to a mostly blue-blooded NCAA tournament system.
With a Final Four berth on the line, Ohio State takes on the pride of the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State, in the West Regional final of this NCAA tournament Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles (7 p.m. ET, CBS).
As of Friday morning, the March Madness betting odds at most online sportsbooks were moving the spread down from an open of -6 for Saturday's game.
For the second game in a row on Thursday night, second-seeded Ohio State blew a late lead, then won on a three-pointer in the waning seconds. Last weekend the Buckeyes gave up a late 13-point lead against Iowa State, but got bailed out when Aaron Craft hit a three-pointer with less than a second to go for a 78-75 victory.
Thursday night OSU led Arizona by five points with just over a minute to go, only to have the Wildcats tie the game on a three-point play with 20 seconds left. The Buckeyes then got bailed out again, this time when LaQuinton Ross hit a shot from beyond the arc with two seconds to go for a 73-70 victory.
The Buckeyes head into Saturday riding an 11-game winning streak, and they have been covering spreads at a solid clip as well.
Wichita State, in trying to follow in the Final Four-bound trails recently blazed by mid-major programs like George Mason, Butler and VCU, has played some great ball in this tournament and taken advantage of the implosion in the upper portion of the West Regional bracket.
The Shockers, as a nine-seed, upset eighth-seeded Pittsburgh last Thursday 73-55, then knocked off top-seeded Gonzaga Saturday 76-70.
WSU was then rewarded with a game Thursday night against 13th-seeded La Salle, which had pulled a couple of upsets of its own to reach the Sweet 16. But the Shockers were much too much for the guard-oriented Explorers, jumping out to an early double-digit lead on their way to a 72-58 victory.
With its three wins in this tournament Wichita State is now 5-2 SU and 4-2-1 ATS this season against teams that made the NCAA tournament.
With its three victories in this tournament Ohio State is now 12-7 SU and a very profitable 13-5 ATS against tournament teams this season.
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