If you weren’t watching the Big Ten Network on Saturday afternoon to witness Ohio State pull off the biggest comeback in Big Ten women’s basketball history, then you missed out. Not only was it a historic achievement by Kevin McGuff’s team coming back from being down 20 at half to No. 1 Indiana — and at one point down 24 — to end up winning 79-75 to set up a battle between the Buckeyes and Iowa Hawkeyes for the B1G title today at 5 p.m. ET.
However, despite the two impressive wins that OSU already has this postseason (the team beat Michigan 81-79 in the quarterfinals on Friday), their odds to win the national title remain unchanged from a week ago. Of course, this could change if the Bucks beat second-seeded Iowa tonight, but as of now, they remain the team with the 14th-best chance to cut down the nets in Dallas on April 2 according to the DraftKings SportsBook.
Last Sunday, their odds were +6500 to take home the title and that remains true today. Obviously, this late in the season, the bookmakers’ minds are likely fairly solidified as to what they think of each team in the mix, so while there has been a bit of movement above the Buckeyes, it has mostly stayed the same.
South Carolina remains the prohibitive favorite to repeat as champions at -160. Interestingly, Indiana — who the Buckeyes just beat — has moved up from fourth to second in the DraftKings odds, going from +900 a week ago to +700 today. That means that if you place a $100 bet today on the Hoosiers to win the title and they pull it off, you will take home $800 (your initial $100 bet and $700 in profit).
However, if you make a bet on Dawn Staley Gamecocks to win and they do run it back, you will to bet $160 to profit $100. If you really like what you’ve seen from Ohio State lately, and you decide to bet with your scarlet and gray glasses on, a $100 bet for them to win it all would bring you $6,500 in profit, should they pull it off.
As I said earlier, it’s not a huge surprise that the Vegas bookmakers aren’t making any major swings in the lines based off of a few conference tournament games. They’ve had an entire season to formulate their opinions on teams, and those will more or less stay fairly consistent... unless something major changes, and one could certainly argue that something major has changed for the Buckeyes.
Coming into the Big Ten Tournament, Ohio State’s senior All-American guard Jacy Sheldon had only played in six games this season and only one since November. But, she returned on Friday against the Wolverines to play 13 minutes. She only put up five points, but for her first action in 26 days, she looked pretty good.
But, it was her impact against Indiana that should really turn heads. Against IU, Sheldon only played 16 minutes but had 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting while collecting four steals. If the former All-Big Ten First Teamer can continue to build on that success, while getting her legs and lungs back into shape, her presence in the OSU lineup could make a major difference in the team’s chances in the Big Dance and could force Vegas to reconsider the Buckeyes’ position in the national championship odds race.