The Buckeyes should have the best player on the floor in Keita Bates-Diop, who was the best player in the Big Ten this year.
The Ohio State Buckeyes took care of business rather easily in their Round of 64 matchup, disposing of No. 12 seed South Dakota State 81-73. On Saturday, they’ll move on to take on the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who had a tougher-than-expected time with UNC Greensboro in their opener. They were held to a season-low 68 points. Was that a sign that the higher-seeded Bulldogs are vulnerable in this spot?
NCAA Tournament Odds and Betting Analysis
This is actually the second meeting between the teams as they squared off in the PK80 Invitational early in the season. Gonzaga won 86-59 but Ohio State is a different team these days.
The Bulldogs are a high-scoring team but Ohio State fares well against teams like that. They are 6-1-1 ATS and 8-0 SU in their last eight against teams who score 77+ points per game.
The Bulldogs opened as a 2.5-point favorite and are 6-1 SU and 4-1-2 in their last seven as a neutral site favorite of -3 or less.
Ohio State Buckeyes
If you’re Ohio State, you have to love how both teams are coming into this game. They had no problems with South Dakota State, a supposedly tricky No. 12 seed in their opener. They did get a little scare in second half as SDSU briefly tied the game with 1:53 remaining but Ohio State immediately regained control and pulled away. They did let it slip a little bit down the stretch but for the most part, they were in control. As for Gonzaga, they were No. 4 seed that was nearly upset but a No. 13. They needed a go-ahead three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining to finally get ahead of UNCG.
Keita Bates-Diop had plenty of backup in the Round of 64 as Kam Williams and C.J. Jackson each had over 20 points too.
If they can clamp down defensively and make this a game in the 60’s or 70’s, they should have a great chance to win.
They’ve already beaten the Buckeyes once this season, so they’re going to be confident going into this game. Even though this is a different Ohio State team, it’s not one that good enough to beat Gonzaga if both teams play at their best.
While the Buckeyes have KBD, there is no comparison between the rosters. The Buckeyes lack a quality bench and their starting five isn’t as good as Gonzaga’s. The Bulldogs are more talented and deeper. They just have to play with more focus than they did in their Round of 64 game.
This is a team that’s one of the highest-scoring in the nation. They were held to their lowest output of the year by UNCG but that’s an aberration. Look for them to get back on track here and roll.