Tonight’s second set of games close out Big East Thursday, and also feature a rarely contested battle of Ohio. Back in 1961 and 1962, Cincinnati defeated Ohio State twice in the National Championship game. Ohio State had won the title in 1960, when Cincinnati had come up a game short of meeting them by losing in the national semifinal with Oscar Robertson. Since that time, though, Ohio State and Cincinnati have only played once, in 2006.
#2 Ohio State vs. #6 Cincinnati, East Regional, 9:45 in Boston (CBS). Yancey Gates matches up with Jared Sullinger in the battle of Ohio, but the key will likely be whether Cincinnati can handle William Buford and Deshaun Thomas as well, and prevent Ohio State from scoring inside. Expect Cincinnati, who gives up some size on the wings, to overplay and double quickly inside.
The Line: Ohio State by 7.5. The Pick: The concern here is that Ohio State will own the offensive boards and second chance points. Ohio State -7.5.
#3 Marquette vs. #7 Florida, West Regional, 10:17 in Phoenix (TBS). Fantastic exciting matchup to close the night. Two teams with athletic guards and wings, the Warriors will try to dictate tempo. Florida, though, seems to have finally gotten comfortable playing without Will Yeguete, and has rolled through the first two games of the tournament, not looking like a typical 7-seed.
The Line: Marquette by 2. The Pick: It’s the Florida shooters versus the brilliance of Jae Crowder. Close game. Florida +2.