Ohio State came into the season with high expectations. They started off hot, but had issues during the Big Ten schedule. Aaron Craft is the kind of player that excels in the guard-driven NCAA Tournament.
Dayton plays in the Atlantic 10. The toughest mid-major conference. They have over a dozen wins against teams in this year’s NCAA Tournament.
These teams are less than an hour apart from each other. The game will be played in Buffalo, so if you live in the area, expect a lot of ‘O-H’ & ‘I-O’ chants all weekend.
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Ohio State started out the season with 15 straight wins, but then hit a speed bump at the beginning of the Big Ten schedule. They had a stretch when they went 1-5. The Big Ten was a difficult conference, but Ohio State lost to Penn State, twice! They are inconsistent and that is dangerous in March. This squad isn’t filled with future NBA talent like past OSU teams Thad Matta ushers into the tournament. Their biggest strength is their upper classman (Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross and Lenzelle Smith Jr.). There aren’t many major programs that are bringing as many players with tournament experience as the Buckeyes.
When Dayton heard their name called as the opponent against Ohio State, I know one player in particular that began to drool. Jordan Sibert transferred from Ohio State after the 2011-12 season and had to sit out last season. In his first season at Dayton, he averaged 12.5 points and shot 43% behind the arc. Sibert and senior forward Devin Oliver could make things every interesting.
The Dayton Flyers have a half dozen players on the team from the state of Ohio. Two are actually from Columbus. If you’ve ever lived in Ohio, Ohio State is pretty much the only school/team kids in the state love. The players on Dayton were probably never seriously recruited by Ohio State and come into this game with a chip on their shoulder. Ohio State is more talented and should come out with the win, but this game will be closer than many expect.
Prediction: #6 Ohio State Buckeyes
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.