Ohio's Sweet 16 game is a little more than 24 hours away, although most people have kind of ignored the fact that the Bobcats are even still here.
It seems like the media has already assumed that North Carolina will win on Friday night, which is fine. Ohio is used to being the underdog here.
But as we have learned through the years in the NCAA Tournament, there is always a chance. It might be a small chance that is blown off course by a late call against a team, but there is always a chance.
That chance for Ohio got a little bigger with the loss of Kendall Marshall. North Carolina didn't all of a sudden become Towson or Binghamton, but they became a little more vulnerable as noted by Eamonn Brennan in his indispensable players list.
But again, the loss of Marshall against Ohio isn't what the loss of D.J. Cooper would mean against North Carolina. Marshall runs the offense, but the list of players on the team who can take over games doesn't end with the sophomore point guard. Ohio's list ends with Cooper.
So what are the odds tomorrow night? And if MACtion takes over and Ohio wins, what do the Final Four odds in the Midwest region look like? We went back to the computer and its 28,500 games to find out.Friday night, North Carolina, based on its full season of work, has a 91.6 percent chance of winning. Yeah, Mr. Gottlieb, they should just pack it up right now and go back home to North Carolina. That looks like an impossible task.
Kansas should win its game against North Carolina State (78.0 percent), setting up the 1 vs. 2 matchup that most people have been expecting.
Based on full-strength North Carolina, here are the Final Four chances:
|North Carolina State||2.59%|
But we all know this isn't full-strength North Carolina. Marshall, according to HOOPWAR, was worth about 5 wins to his team over the course of the season. It is hard to make that change in the computer rankings, mostly because you just can't pick 5 wins and make them losses.
North Carolina has the highest computer score right now at 223.77, leading the three-way pack of them, Ohio State and Kentucky. We have to find a way to take the wins out of that number somehow, which would definitely move them out of the lead pack. Just how far they drop is another question.
Florida, now 25-10 against Division 1 competition, is a close guess. They have a computer score of 159.34, placing them at No. 9 in the country through all the postseason games. With the extra win on North Carolina's side, we will bump that to 160 even. Again, this is just a guess; the computer doesn't work exactly like that.
If we replace North Carolina's actual computer score with the score from our guess, we have slightly different results.
Friday night's game is likely the same outcome, although the chance of North Carolina winning drops to 78.0 percent, the same as Kansas.
As for the full Final Four numbers, here is the chart:
|North Carolina State||2.59%||6.13%|
As you can see, Ohio makes out better in this scenario, if only because they have a greater chance to move on against UNC, and they would actually be slightly favored in a game against North Carolina State.
Kansas looks to be the big winner though. They gain more than 25 percent on the Tar Heels, and become the favorites to play in New Orleans.