Wichita State Shockers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (-4, 130)
Ohio State has become accustomed to coming up with critical shots late in the NCAA Tournament in its quest for a second consecutive Final Four. Wichita State has simply played big as it pursues a regional final victory for the second time in school history. The teams meet for the first time since 1963 on Saturday in Los Angeles for the right to represent the West Region in the Final Four.
For the second straight game, Ohio State drained a 3-pointer in the waning seconds to break a tie and advance. After Ohio State used a 3-pointer from Aaron Craft to break Iowa State’s heart on Sunday, LaQuinton Ross hit one to sink Arizona on Thursday. The Buckeyes will put their 11-game winning streak on the line against the Shockers, who followed their upset win over top-seeded Gonzaga last Saturday with an impressive victory over La Salle on Thursday.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, CBS.
ABOUT WICHITA STATE (29-8): Carl Hall dominated the undersized Explorers inside, hitting his first five shots and scoring 14 of his 16 points inside the paint. The Shockers recorded 40 points in the paint against La Salle and took 43 shots inside, the most such attempts for a team in this tournament. Wichita State’s tournament opponents – Pittsburgh, Gonzaga and La Salle – each entered their games with the Shockers shooting at least 45 percent, but the teams combined to shoot 35.5 percent against the Missouri Valley Conference’s top-ranked field-goal percentage defense.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (29-7): Unlike the play that left Craft open for a 3-pointer against the Cyclones, the pivotal moment in the win Thursday came when Arizona overcommitted to the Buckeyes’ point guard. "It was similar to the play we ran last game," Ross said. "We like to get the (big men) on a pick-and-roll. It so happened they messed up the switch there and I was able to knock down the shot." Perhaps one of the biggest turnarounds the team has made lately is beyond the arc. In three NCAA Tournament games, Ohio State is a combined 23-for-46 (50 percent) from the 3-point line after shooting 35.9 percent over its first 33 contests.
* Shockers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Buckeyes’ last six Saturday games.
* Over is 4-1 in Shockers’ last five non-conference games.
* Shockers are 4-0 ATS in their last four non-conference games.
1. Craft and Ross are two of only four players in this tournament to make a potential game-tying or go-ahead field goal in the final 10 seconds of a game.
2. Wichita State, one win shy of its first 30-win season, is seeking its first Final Four since 1965.
3. The Buckeyes are 8-2 all-time as a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament.