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Late game in the east: Ohio State vs Cincinnati

 

How they got here: Ohio State (29-7), as expected, beat Loyola (MD) easily, and then let Gonzaga hang around but were never really threatened.

Cincinnati (26-10) nearly allowed Texas to comeback from a monumental deficit, and then the Bearcats beat Florida State in the final minute of a very physical game.

Three things Cincinnati fans should know about Ohio State:

  • Not a single bench player played more than 11 minutes against Gonzaga. Four of the five Ohio State starters have played at least 71% of the teams minutes, and that includes missed time for Sullinger.
  • Ohio State has the best defense in the nation. They’ve allowed .847 points per possession, which is the lowest mark since Florida State two years ago.
  • Last season Ohio State was a one seed, and they lost in the Sweet 16 to Kentucky. The previous season they were a two seed, and they lost in the Sweet 16 to Tennessee.

Three things Ohio State fans should know about Cincinnati:

  • They’re below average at shooting the 2; they’re below average shooting the 3; and they’re horrible from the line. Yet, despite this, they have a top-50 offense. So how do they do it? First, they don’t turn the ball over (10th nationally), so they end up putting up more shots than their opponents (+131 vs their opponents). Second, they’re a very good offensive rebounding team (42nd).
  • The Bearcats are a bad defensive rebounding team (261st). Whereas the Buckeyes are a very good offensive rebounding team (38th). There should be plenty of missed shots in this game. One key is which team rebounds their own misses.
  • Cincinnati is one of the smallest teams in the nation. Pomeroy has their effective height ranked 290th.

Key players:

Aaron Craft, 6-2, SO, Ohio State: Craft is coming off an excellent game against Gonzaga where he had a double-double (18 pts, 10 assists), but Cincinnati is not Gonzaga. The Bearcats put tremendous pressure on the ball, and they repeatedly trap in half court sets. Craft’s ballhandling will be key.

Yancy Gates, 6-9, SR, Cincinnati: Gates is the only big man of consequence for Cincinnati. Not only does he face the challenge of defending Jared Sullinger, but he needs to do so while staying out of foul trouble. Luckily he only commits 3.1 fouls per 40 minutes, which is solid for a post player.

Most googled phrases during out of conference play:

  • Ohio State: what is a buckeye
  • Cincinnati: cincy xavier fight video

Last Elite-8 appearance:

  • Ohio State: 2007
  • Cincinnati: 1996
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