(2) Ohio State vs. (10) Iowa State
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes
The Iona Gaels are a team that likes to play over 70 and as fast as possible. The Buckeyes aren’t known for that style of play, but on Friday night they beat the Gaels at their own games as they advanced with a 95-70 victory. Deshaun Thomas led the way as usual, scoring a game-high 24 points. Sophomore forward Sam Thompson was also able to have a big night, establishing a new career-high with 20 points to go along with 10 rebounds. The Buckeyes had 25 assists on 34 makes on the night and outrebounded the Gaels by nine. They move to face the Cyclones in the Round of 32. The Cyclones were the best three-point shooting team in the country during the regular season and are coming off of an impressive showing against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in which they shot the three particularly well. That game also holds the potential to be a shootout. It could come down to which team defends better down the stretch.
(10) Iowa State Cyclones
Georges Niang had 19 points, three rebounds and four assists, Melvin Ejim had 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists and the Cyclones made easy work of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, 76-58. The Cyclones just progressively got better as the game went on. Their three-point shots were falling and they were moving the ball around really well. They had 19 assists on the game to six turnovers. Their offense has to keep clicking if they’re going to get past the Buckeyes, who showed what kind of offensive firepower they have in their opening round game. The Cyclones can settle with Thomas getting his, it’s everyone else they have to worry about limiting. They’ll have to be better on the boards than they were against the Fighting Irish, because the Buckeyes will take advantage of them there as well. If the Cyclones can also force over 15 turnovers again they have a legitimate shot at going to the Sweet 16.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been playing too well over the last month to pick against them.