Midwest Region Semifinals

Published on March 23 at noon Eastern.

By Brian Edwards

These games will be played at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

**North Carolina vs. Ohio**

–As of early this afternoon, most betting shops had North Carolina (31-5 straight up, 20-15 against the spread) installed as a 10 ½-point favorite with a total of 143. Gamblers can take the Bobcats to win outright for a plus-550 return (risk $100 to win $550).

–UNC will most likely be playing without its floor general, sophomore point guard Kendall Marshall. He sustained a broken bone in his right wrist this past Sunday and had surgery on Monday. Marshall, who averages 7.2 points and 9.6 assists per game, is listed as ‘doubtful.’

–UNC advanced to the Sweet 16 with a pair of wins (and spread covers) in Greensboro last weekend over Vermont and Creighton. The Tar Heels bounced the Catamounts by a 77-58 count as 16-point favorites. John Henson sat out his third straight game with a sprained wrist, but UNC got 17 points, 15 rebounds and four blocked shots from Tyler Zeller.

–Roy Williams’s team thumped Creighton 87-73 as an 8 ½-point favorite this past Sunday thanks to a sensational effort from Marshall, who finished with 18 points and 11 assists. Harrison Barnes added 17 points against the Bluejays, while Henson returned to the lineup and produced 13 points, 10 boards and four blocked shots.

–Ohio (29-7 SU, 15-13 ATS) brings a six-game winning streak to St. Louis after pulling a pair of moderate upsets last weekend over Michigan and South Florida. The Bobcats took out the Wolverines by capturing a 65-60 victory as 5 ½-point underdogs. D.J. Cooper led the way with a game-high 21 points and five assists, as he drained 7-of-11 shots from the field.

–After trailing by six at intermission against a red-hot South Florida squad, Ohio rallied to win a 62-56 decision as a two-point underdog. The win lifted the Bobcats to their first Sweet 16 appearance since 1964. Walter Offutt buried all four of his 3-point attempt en route to scoring a game-high 21 points. Cooper added 19 points, seven assists and a pair of steals.

–UNC’s Roy Williams owns the best coaching record of anyone left in the field. From his time at Kansas and UNC, Williams is 60-19 for a .759 winning percentage.

–UNC has been a double-digit favorite 20 times this year, going 12-8 ATS with four consecutive covers in such situations.

–Ohio owns a 6-2 spread record with five outright wins in eight underdog spots this year.

–The ‘under’ is 16-12 overall for Ohio, 4-2 in its last six games.

–The ‘over’ is 18-17 overall for UNC, 5-2 in its last seven outings.

–Tip-off is scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Eastern on TBS.

**North Carolina State vs. Kansas**

–Most books are listing Kansas (29-6 SU, 17-16-1 ATS) as an eight-point favorite with a total of 143. The Wolfpack can be had on the money line for a plus-350 payout (risk $100 to win $350).

–Kansas played from behind nearly the entire game but got crucial stops at crunch time and survived a game effort from Purdue and its star senior Robbie Hummel in a 60-57 non-covering win as an eight-point ‘chalk.’ Elijah Johnson stepped up to score a team-high 18 points. Thomas Robinson finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds.

–Bill Self’s team won its NCAA opener over Detroit by a 65-50 score as a 13 ½-point favorite. Robinson paced the Jayhawks with 16 points and 13 rebounds.

–North Carolina St. (24-12 SU, 17-14-1 ATS) has won six of its last seven games with the lone defeat coming against North Carolina by a bucket in the ACC Tournament semifinals. During this stretch, Mark Gottfried’s squad owns a 6-0-1 spread record.

–N.C. St. used a balanced offensive attack to sneak past Georgetown 66-63 as a four-point underdog to get back to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005. C.J. Leslie scored 14 points, pulled down eight rebounds and blocked three shots. Scott Wood and C.J. Williams also had 14 points apiece against the Hoyas.

–KU has a 7-6 spread record in 13 games as a single-digit ‘chalk.’

–N.C. St. has been an underdog 14 times, cashing tickets at a lucrative 10-4 ATS clip.

–The ‘under’ is 20-12-2 overall for the Jayhawks.

–The ‘over’ is 19-13 overall for N.C. St. 8-3 in its last 11 games. The ‘over’ is 12-5 in 17 games the Wolfpack have had with totals in the 140s.

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