NCAA Tournament Odds, North Carolina Vs. Ohio: Midwest Bracket Predictions

Mar 18, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Ohio Bobcats guard D.J. Cooper (5) dribbles the ball against the South Florida Bulls during the second half in the third round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Bridgestone Arena.The Bobcats beat the Bulls 62-56. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-US PRESSWIRE

There has never been a 13 seed in the Elite Eight and odds are stacked high against Ohio becoming the first one. But the Bobcats are getting lots of attention at sportsbooks because of their scrappiness as underdogs.

No. 13 seeds have never made the Elite Eight and there are plenty of reasons wearing powder blue uniforms that suggest Ohio won’t become the first today.

The Bobcats, shocking Sweet 16 entrants and just the fifth 13 seed to come this far, face the North Carolina Tar Heels in Midwest Region odds action Friday. And they are double-digit underdogs.

But while few give the MAC champs much hope of advancing, Vegas sees plenty of action on the Bobcats.

"Ohio has been a nasty underdog lately, going 12-3 ATS in their past 15 games in that role," said Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "They are also 10-1 SU in their past 11 games overall so it’s not like they don’t know how to play basketball."

But betting is split very evenly, in part because of the public infatuation with UNC, in part because they have been a safe bet in the Sweet 16. In their past five trips to this round of the bracket, the Tar Heels are 4-1 ATS.

Predicted Score: 86-78 UNC

ATS Pick: Ohio +10.5

How They Match Up:

Rebounding is always a key handicapping consideration and Bobcats ranked No. 186 in NCAA hoops at 34.3 per game. Contrast that with North Carolina’s No. 1 mark in the paint. When it comes to three-point shooting, North Carolina is the No. 274-ranked team in the country at 5.1 per game, while Ohio rates No. 68 at 7.4 per game.

Ohio was a 62-56 winner in its last match, upsetting South Florida. They covered the two-point spread as underdogs. Walter Offutt scored 21 points leading the Bobcats to a 62-56 victory over South Florida at Bridgestone Arena on Sunday.

Last time out for North Carolina, they were an 87-73 winner as they battled Creighton. They covered in the match as a 9.5-point favorite. The Tar Heels grabbed an 87-73 win over the Bluejays on Sunday, behind an 18-point effort from Kendall Marshall at Greensboro Coliseum.

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