Syracuse lost to Cincinnati in the Big East tournament two weeks ago and Ohio State just stomped Cincinnati in the Sweet 16.
So on top of the 1 vs 2 discussion in the East Regional final, there are questions about whether the Orange can hang with the Buckeyes.
"The question is whether that Cincinnati game is a good comparison as far as the form of each team," explained Mark Presley of OddsShark.com. "And oddsmakers and bettors are saying that OSU is the better bet."
Indeed, Syracuse has struggled to a 3-7 ATS mark in their past 10 games overall. And the absence of Fab Melo could finally prove the difference with a spot in the Final Four at stake.
It's one of two regional finals to pit the top seeds against each other ...
Predicted Score:83-81 Ohio State
ATS Pick: Syracuse +3
How They Match Up:
In the paint, the rebound battle will feature Syracuse's No. 143-rated squad against Ohio State's No. 45-rated roster. And in long-range shooting, Syracuse rates No. 158 in the country with 6.3 per game, while their foes tonight rank No. 285 nationally with 5.1 per match.
Defensively, Ohio State features the nation's No. 45-rated defense on the road, allowing 63.9 points per game. Syracuse, meanwhile, comes in at No. 97 nationally in scoring at home.
Ohio State was an 81-66 winner in its last match against Cincinnati. They covered the 7.5-point spread as favorites. Deshaun Thomas went off for 26 points and added 7 rebounds, leading Ohio State over Cincinnati 81-66 on Thursday at TD Garden.
Syracuse won its last outing, a 64-63 result against Wisconsin, on Thursday. They failed to cover in that game as a 3-point favorite. C.J. Fair scored 15 points, leading the Orange to a 64-63 victory over Wisconsin at TD Garden on Thursday.