Ohio State basketball opens as 3-point underdog against Gonzaga

Ohio State is right where it wants to be entering its second-round NCAA Tournament matchup with Gonzaga.

According to MyBookie, the fifth-seeded Buckeyes are 3-point underdogs against the fourth-seeded Bulldogs. The game is scheduled to start at 7:45 p.m. ET on Saturday in Boise, Idaho.

The Buckeyes have been doubted all season. They were picked to finish 11th in the Big Ten preseason pool and took second. After earning a No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament, they were on the wrong side of a popular upset pick — No. 12 seed South Dakota State. The Buckeyes and Jackrabbits were locked at 70 in the final minutes but pulled away — see Kam Williams — for an 81-73 win.

Afterwards, Coach of the Year finalist Chris Holtmann sarcastically thanked the journalists who doubted his team.

Now, it’s the odds makers disfavoring Holtmann’s group, and perhaps for good reason. According to kenpom.com — a website that measures adjusted efficiency — Gonzaga is 12th in adjusted offensive efficiency and 14th in adjusted defensive efficiency. Ohio State comes in at 26th and 17th, respectively, in those statistics. In addition, the Bulldogs crushed the Buckeyes, 86-59, when the two teams met in the PK80 Invitational in November.

The teams will be on the same court together again Saturday night, where Ohio State will look to avenge that early-season defeat and advance to the program’s first Sweet 16 since 2013.

See all of the scores and matchups from the entire NCAA Tournament, here.

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