The Ohio State Basketball team did not have an easy opening game to kick off the NCAA Tourney but they pulled out a win nonetheless.
One game down five to go but rather than looking ahead right now, let’s enjoy the Ohio State basketball win! When the fifth-seeded Buckeyes drew 12th seed South Dakota State, I knew that was a game many would circle as a possible upset.
The Jackrabbits were going to make the Buckeyes earn everything they got. Their defense also forced Ohio State to shoot 40 three-point shots far more than we typically would have seen in the regular season.
To start the second half, the game was tied at 43 and at times it appeared Ohio State was going to pull away from South Dakota State but whether it was a bad sequence of plays or a turnover, South Dakota also stuck around.
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Those three put up 66 points, 26 rebounds, and 8 assists in the Buckeyes’ 81-73 win. Now, Ohio State will take on Gonzaga in the second round.
It was expected that Bates-Diop has a good game but I was more interested in how SDS’ forward Mike Daum would do against him and other Buckeyes. Daum is a former Summit player of the year and is why his team is so successful. He ended up with 27 points and 6 rebounds.
The longer Bates-Diop plays in the NCAA Tournament, the better it is for his draft-stock. While that is not being thought of right now, don’t dismiss the benefit it gives him whenever the offseason happens.
On a nightly basis, he also did not play against top talent. Now, he will be going up against some of the best the country has to offer each round.
Ohio State did not stop South Dakota State from shooting their threes or decrease the percentage in which they made. That is okay though because when Bates-Diop wasn’t doing his thing, Williams and Jackson were problems for the Jackrabbits. Whether it was from beyond the arc, on the glass, or at the foul line, the upperclassmen guards excelled Thursday afternoon.
Yes, it was closer than the team would have liked but the game is now history. They can catch their breath and now prepare to stop a very talented Gonzaga team out west in Boise, Idaho. Beating Gonzaga would go a long way into making a very deep run in the coming days and weeks.