Ohio forward Ben Vander Plas (5) reacts after hitting a three-point basket to give the team their first over Virginia during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 20, 2021, at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)
- Ohio upset Virginia to advance to an NCAA West Region game against Creighton at 12pm on Monday
- Creighton held off Cal-Santa Barbara in the first round for their fourth victory in the last five games
- Check out the odds, analysis, and betting predictions, below
No. 13 seed Ohio (17-7) beat defending national champion Virginia to advance to an NCAA West Region game against Creighton at 12pm on Monday. The Bobcats have won 10 of their last 11 games straight up and ATS.
Creighton (21-8) broke a two-game NCAA Tournament losing streak with a 63-62 victory over Cal-Santa Barbara to make the second round. The Bluejays have won eight of their last 11 games and have won and covered four of their last five.
Ohio vs Creighton Odds
|Team||Moneyline||Spread at FanDuel||Total|
|Ohio Bobcats||+194||+5.5 (-106)||Ov 149.5 (-110)|
|Creighton Bulldogs||-235||-5.5 (-116)||Un 149.5 (-110)|
Odds from March 20.
The Bobcats are making their first NCAA appearance since 2012, when they reached the Sweet Sixteen as a No. 13 seed in the Midwest. Guard Jason Preston had 11 points and 13 rebounds and was two assists short of a triple-double while playing the full 40 minutes.
The Bluejays rebounded from their most decisive loss of the season, a 73-48 defeat to Georgetown in the Big East tournament finals March 12.
A Pair of Comebacks
Both teams showed resilience to advance. Creighton overcame an eight-point first-half deficit and trailed by six points with 5:30 minutes remaining before finishing on an 11-4 run.
Ohio was down by seven points in the first half and still trailed by seven with 14:30 minutes left before stretch-4 Ben Vander Plas jump-started its comeback.
The 6-foot-8 Vander Plas scored 10 straight points, including two three-pointers deep on the left wing to ignite the Bobcats, who took a 47-42 lead they never lost.
Ohio made 6-of-6 free throws in the final 43 seconds to hang on, sending the Cavaliers to a second first-round loss in the last three tournaments.
Creighton trailed by six points with 5:30 minutes left but scored the next nine points, a Marcus Zegarowski jumper making it 61-58 with 1:40 left. After falling behind 62-61, Christian Bishop made two free throws with 11 seconds remaining.
Ohio held Virginia without a field goal for a 10:09 stretch of the second half as it stretched its lead to seven points, and the Cavaliers got as close as two points only twice thereafter.
The Cavaliers missed 11 straight field goals and 16-of-20 and were held to 35% shooting.
2021 NCAA Men’s Tournament Championship Odds Tracker
Cal Santa-Barbara missed seven of its last eight shots, the killer an uncontested 5-footer in the lane by Amadou Sow with three seconds remaining.
Creighton is rated as the better defensive unit, ranked 41st in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency.
Creighton’s Escape Act
No. 5 seed Creighton got past Cal-Santa Barbara in the first round, but the Bluejays did not do much to inspire confidence entering their game against Ohio.
The Bluejays had difficulty on the defensive end at crunch time, losing the 6’10 Sow on pick-and-roll plays on two consecutive late possessions as the Gauchos took a 62-61 lead. Sow beat the defensive rotation for a layup with 1:15 left, and he made two free throws with 37 seconds remaining.
Creighton guard Marcus Zegarowski had 17 points, eight assists and six turnovers against Cal-Santa Barbara. Bishop had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds.
The Bluejays were out-rebounded 36-30, a season-long issue. They have a minus-0.4 rebound margin per game this season. Ohio, which is a plus-1.2, out-rebounded Virginia 38-29.
By the Numbers
Creighton is 3-4 ATS in its last seven. They won three games from UConn in the regular season, the last in the Big East tournament semifinals. The Bluejays are 26th in the NCAA net rankings and are 7-3 against Quad I opponents.
Creighton is 14th in KenPom’s offensive efficiency margin and Ohio is 29th.
The game did little to change the perception of Creighton as an underachiever in the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays lost first-round games in their last two appearances, both times as a higher seed. They lost to Kansas State as an eighth seed in 2018 and fell to Rhode Island as a sixth seed in 2019. A third seed in 2014, the Bluejays lost to Baylor by 30 in the second round.
With Preston penetrating and Vander Plas spotting up, the Bobcats are a challenge to defend.
The pick: Ohio +5.5 (-110)
Jack has covered college and professional sports for various Arizona media outlets and has written for the AP, USA Today and Baseball America, among others. He staffed the 2015-17 World Series and has staffed four Super Bowls.