Dayton Flyers (11 seed, 23-10) vs. Ohio State Buckeyes (6 seed, 25-9)
When: March 20, 2014
Time: 12:15 pm
In a battle of Ohio, located just an hour apart, mentor versus protégé meet, as the Buckeyes and the Flyers face-off for the first time since the 2008 NIT.
However, this time around, a lot more is at stake.
Led by Ohio State transfer Jordan Sibert, who shoots 43.9 percent from the outside; Devin Oliver, a senior forward who averages 12.1 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists and Dyshawn Pierre, the team’s best offensive rebounder, the Flyers have lost just three times since January 29, all to Atlantic-10 champion Saint Joseph’s. Going 4-3 against the BPI top 50, the Flyers have won 10 of their last 12 games and have done so by playing well on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. A great rebounding team that controls the glass, the Flyers have the potential to give Ohio State an early scare.
Averaging 73.4 points on 46.6 percent shooting, the Flyers are going to have to contend with two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, Aaron Craft, and the Buckeyes defense whom allow just 59.8 points on 40.5 percent shooting and have held 7 of their last 9 opponents under 70 points.
Ohio State started the season with 15 straight wins, but going 10-9 down the stretch, which included a loss in the Big Ten tournament to their rival, the Michigan Wolverines, has Buckeye nation holding their breath. All season long, Craft has been a liability on offense, and that streak continues in this one. Continuously relying on their defense to win games, Ohio State struggles to score from the field, shooting 44.8 percent. But when you face a team like Dayton, struggling to score will lead to defeat. Dayton roster consists of four players, including Georgetown transfer and sixth man, Vee Sanford, who can lead the team in scoring on any given night, making the Flyers a very dangerous team entering the NCAA tournament.
The Buckeyes aren’t potent enough on offense to compete with the Flyers for 40 minutes. Going 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall and 8-2 ATS in their last 10 non-conference games, taking the points is certainly a lock.
But, look for the Flyers not only keep it close for most of the game, but to pull away with the upset win.
Forget the points. Take the big payout.