The NCAA Tournament could take another big time turn on Saturday when one of the favorites to win it all, the Ohio State Buckeyes take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs in the Round of 32 of the dance.
There weren’t many teams that were more impressive looking in the first two days of the dance than the Bulldogs. Many figured that they were going to be in trouble having to go all the way to Pittsburgh to take on the West Virginia Mountaineers. However, they had no such troubles, leading the game from start to finish without even remotely breaking a sweat. The team was up by 18 at the half and just never looked back. There really isn’t a heck of a lot to complain about, short of perhaps how many offensive rebounds they allowed to the ‘Neers. The Zags shot a whopping 56.0 percent from the field and 52.9 percent from beyond the arc, and from there, it was all about the defense, which allowed just 16 shots to be made for the whole game against it. Four of the five starters scored in double figures even though Gary Bell Jr. was the only man to play more than 30 minutes. That could make this team confident, rested, and ready to go against one of the top teams in the country.
There were some high seeds in the tournament that really struggled, but the Buckeyes weren’t one of those teams. They took a double digit lead early against the Loyola Maryland Greyhounds, and they never really let the Metro Atlantic champs get back within striking range. You would have figured that Jared Sullinger would have been the man to really dominate, but he only shot 4-of-14 from the floor. He did pull down 11 boards and had a double-double, and that is why the Greyhounds were just killed on the boards 46-23. It was Deshaun Thomas that really went bananas, going off for 31 points and 12 boards. William Buford also had 17 points. The only thing that Head Coach Thad Matta isn’t going to be all that happy about is the fact that his team turned the ball over 18 times, as that type of sloppiness will eventually get this team beaten in the tourney if that’s what it really comes down to.
The Final Word: This is a bit of a high point spread. The Zags have proven that they can play, and though we don’t think that they are going to be able to get out of Pittsburgh with a victory, we do think that they are going to be able to stay inside of this hefty number. OSU is just too strong to lose SU, though.
Gonzaga Bulldogs vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick: Gonzaga Bulldogs +7.5
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.