Houston Cougars vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick

March 24, 8:40 PM EDT

Betting Odds

Point Spread: 
Houston -6

Houston did what they were supposed to do in the first-round defeating No. 14 Georgia State 84-55. Corey Davis scored 26 points to help the third-seeded Cougars advance to the second round to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes. Houston comes into this game -5 over Ohio State.

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Cougars With History

After reaching the national final in 1984. Houston went more than three decades without winning an NCAA Tournament game. Now, the Cougars have tourney wins in back-to-back seasons and are starting to resemble the program that has five Final Four appearances and produced stars including Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said it’s too early to worry about his team’s place in history.

"We just want to advance," he said. "I think, looking back at something means it's over. We're not done. We've got another game on Sunday. This is such a special group of kids in terms of their preparation and leadership. We know what we're accomplishing. We're moving toward our goal. Our focus is just to live to fight another day."

The Cougars played like a team with NCAA experience. Whenever Georgia State made a run, the Cougars had an answer, and they didn’t let up. Houston outscored the Panthers 44-24 in the second half.

Houston outrebounded Georgia State 51-27.

“I don’t think you can play 34 games and get to the NCAA Tournament and become somebody else, Sampson said. “This is who we are. Our unselfishness, our ability to attack the offensive boards – we felt like we had an advantage on the boards, and that’s important to us. I thought our kids executed the game plan really, really good. Everybody was solid.”

Buckeyes Seeking Sweet 16

Ohio State went from barely making the NCAA Tournament to a spot in the second round. Kaleb Wesson led the way with 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the 11th-seeded Buckeyes to a 62-59 upset over sixth-seeded Cyclones in the Midwest Region on Friday night.

“I imposed myself because of my preparation,” Wesson said. “My coaches and my teammates, they prepare me every day in practice, push me to finish shots that sometimes it’s hard to finish. And you have that – it just makes for easy basketball.”

Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said the gut-check victory validated his team’s selection despite having an 8-12 Big Ten record and going 3-7 in its final 10 games.

“You could say it validates the committee’s decision, but we really felt like we had put forth together a really strong body of work and our guys earned it,” said Holtmann. “You’re always concerned when you’re in a situation like you’re on that cut line, but we really did feel like our guys earned it.”

Keyshawn Woods added 19 points for Ohio State (20-14), which will play No. 3 seed Houston on Sunday for a spot in the round of 16. Musa Jallow added 11 points for Ohio State.

The two teams will get to prove things all over again when they square off Sunday in the second round of the NCAA Midwest Regional in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“We’ve won 32 games,” said Sampson after Friday’s win over Georgia State. “We know how to win a game. That’s apparent."

Houston vs Ohio State Prediction 03/24/2019

We like these two teams, but when they get together, of course, we have to find a winner. In the end - the Cougars and their athleticism will win this game.

Free Pick: 
Bet the Houston Cougars -6

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