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Ohio State 1st Round Tournament Preview
Ohio State suffered an overtime defeat to the Illinois Fighting Illini in the Big Ten Championship on Sunday but looked great in defeat. The Buckeyes will have to regroup in a hurry to avoid a potentially devastating upset.
Oral Roberts finished in fourth place in the Summit League during the regular season but went on a big run to win the Summit League title. The Golden Eagles have now won five straight games and come to Indianapolis with some momentum.
The Ohio State Buckeyes are 16.5-point favorites over the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles.
Golden Eagles Can Fly
Oral Roberts can give the Ohio State Buckeyes some trouble, especially with the way they score the basketball. The Golden Eagles are scoring more than 81 points per game this season, and they will push the ball up the court.
Guard Max Abmas leads the way for Oral Roberts with 24.2 points per game, and he can take over a game in a hurry. The Golden Eagles also shoot better than 39 percent from the three-point line, and Ohio State must defend the arc.
This Golden Eagles team will not be as big or physical as Ohio State, and fatigue could become a real factor in the second half. Oral Roberts just wants to keep this game close to keep the pressure on the Buckeyes.
Washington Carrying Buckeyes
The stats show that Duane Washington Jr. is scoring just 16.3 points per game, but he has been on an absolute tear of late. Washington nearly lifted the Buckeyes past Illinois on his own, especially as the team was playing without Kyle Young.
Ohio State is averaging 77.3 points per game this season while holding opponents to just 71. The Buckeyes won’t be afraid to run with Oral Roberts, but they must also focus on the defensive end of the floor.
Forward E.J. Liddell is also scoring right around 16 points per game, and his size could help the Buckeyes blow this game open. Ohio State has plenty of depth, and Chris Holtmann will use that to his advantage against a smaller team.
Can’t Let Them Hang Around
The NCAA Tournament is known as March Madness for a reason, and there will be some first-round upsets that take place throughout the tournament. Ohio State should not be one of these victims, but they can’t let Oral Roberts hang around.
The Buckeyes are capable of winning the National Championship if they are playing well, but they simply can’t let up. Ohio State should be well-rested after getting four days off, and getting Kyle Young back would play a large role.
A 16.5-point spread doesn’t feel large enough for this matchup, but Ohio State must come out and take care of business early on Friday afternoon.
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