Ohio State’s win over South Dakota State means the Buckeyes will meet Gonzaga in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Saturday, March 17.
The Buckeyes and Zags previously met this season at the PK80 Tournament in November, when Gonzaga dusted Ohio State in an 86-59 blowout. The rematch will air on CBS at approximately 7:45 p.m. ET. You will be able to stream the matchup at NCAA.com.
Chris Holtmann will be hoping the Ohio State team that plays Gonzaga in Boise will be a different one from the team that lost badly in Portland. Back when the Buckeyes lost by 27, people weren’t expecting them to occupy first place in the Big Ten for over a month, or to even become an NCAA Tournament team.
Ohio State hasn’t lost that badly since, though a defeat at the hands of Penn State in February came close.
Gonzaga still isn’t an easy draw. This is a team that went 31-4 in the regular season before emerging with a close win over UNC-Greensboro earlier on Thursday, and is a top-10 team on KenPom’s advanced analytics rankings. The Zags will likely be favored.
Gonzaga lost in the National Championship to North Carolina last year, and although they’re missing some pieces from 2017’s run, the Zags are still trendy pick to make another deep run in March. They have the 11th-most picks to make the National Championship on ESPN’s tournament bracket challenge, picking up 2.5 percent of all votes while Ohio State is 17th with 0.5 percent of votes.
The Bulldogs figure to give the Buckeyes all they can handle on both ends, as KenPom’s efficiency rankings grade their offense as No. 13 and their defense as No. 15. Gonzaga doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses on paper, and have six players averaging 9.5 points or more per game. Senior forward Jonathan Williams is Gonzaga’s leader in points and rebounds with 13.5 and 8.3 respectively.
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