Buckeyes heavily favored to advance past Oral Roberts

Pete Nakos6 months
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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 12 Big Ten Tournament - Ohio State v Purdue
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann has had conversations about J.T. Tuimoloau. (Zach Bolinger/Getty Images)

COLUMBUS — Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann admitted Tuesday he’ll talk with his team about not taking No. 15 seed Oral Roberts lightly.

The conversation is one he has with all his NCAA Tournament teams, though. Either way, VegasInsider.com has No. 2 Ohio State as a 16.5-point favorite in its first-round game on Friday afternoon. The Buckeyes tip off against the Golden Eagles at 3 p.m. ET on CBS from Mackey Arena.

The point-total is set at 157.

Oral Roberts won the Summit League and features the country’s best scorer. Max Abmas is averaging 24.2 points per game, and the Golden Eagles also lead the nation in shots from 3-point range. They enter Friday’s game on a five-game winning streak.

“If we’re fortunate enough to play well and win, then we’ll move on to the next task at hand and know that’s going to be a really quality opponent, too,” Holtmann said. “That’s how you have to approach it.”

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Ohio State is a 16.5-point favorite over Oral Roberts. (Photo by Zach Bolinger/Getty Images)

Oral Roberts and Ohio State have never met on the hardwood.

Since the NCAA Tournament was canceled last season because of the pandemic, the Buckeyes haven’t played in the Big Dance since 2019. Ohio State was the No. 11 seed in the  Midwest Region, beating Iowa State in the Round of 64. The Buckeyes then fell to No. 3 seed Houston 74-59 in the second round.

Kyle Young’s status for Friday’s game is still unknown. Holtmann’s offense will lean heavily on E.J. Liddell and Duane Washington Jr. in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State gambling trends

  • Ohio State is 17-12-1 against the spread this season.
  • The Buckeyes are 4-1 against the spread at neutral sites and 7-1 with four or more days of rest. They’re also 6-0 against nonconference opponents.
  • Chris Holtmann has never lost a first-round game in the NCAA Tournament. He’s 5-0.
  • Ohio State is 1-9 against the spread in its last 10 NCAA Tournament games.
  • The Buckeyes are 51-28 all-time in NCAA Tournament games.
  • Oral Roberts is 14-9 against the spread this season.
  • The Golden Eagles are 3-0 against the spread on neutral site courts and 5-6 with four or more days of rest.