When: 7:47 EST, TBS
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
How they got here: 6-seed Arizona hasn't really been tested yet, but they also haven't faced a single-digit seed. With Wichita State and La Salle squaring off on the other side of the bracket, it's conceivable that Arizona could get to the Final Four by beating one team seeded higher than 11th. Regardless, they beat Belmont (11) by 17-points and Harvard (14) by 23, and all they can do is play the teams put in front of them.
2-seed Ohio State, like their opponent Arizona, has also yet to play a single digit seed. They blasted Iona (15) in the first round by 25, but then needed an Aaron Craft 3-pointer at the buzzer to avoid overtime vs Iowa State (10) in a game that will otherwise largely be remembered due to a late blown call by Karl Hess.
The possession battle
The Buckeyes offense starts with ball control. They are 11th in the nation in TO%, and Arizona doesn't do a great job forcing turnovers (173rd). This, on the surface, could mean that Ohio State will get more effective possessions (a possession that does not end with a turnover) than Arizona, but the Wildcats make up for it by not allowing offensive rebounds. They are the 13th best defensive rebounding team in the nation, while Ohio State is average getting after the offensive glass.
Arizona's 3-point shooting vs Ohio State defense
Arizona will likely live or die by the 3-ball. They attempt 38% of their shots from beyond the arc (55th nationally) while Ohio State does a great job limiting inside looks. The tradeoff for the Buckeyes is that teams attempt more 3s against them than against 290 other Division I teams. The good news is that they only make 32.1% of those attempts.
Deshaun Thomas vs Solomon Hill
This is a matchup that fans should be drooling over. Both players convert exactly half their 2s, both take plenty of 3s (36% of Thomas's attempts are from the arc, vs 43% for Hill) and both have been solid so far in the tournament. Thomas, who takes 32% of the shots when he's on the floor – more than any other Big Ten player – has averaged 23 points in his first two tourney games and has made 5-7 3s. Hill is coming off of a 13 point, 10 rebound performance vs Harvard.
Throwing out the Missouri Kansas City's and Chicago State's of the world, when Ohio State has been forced into games featuring more than 65 possessions they're just 4-4 against decent teams (top 100 teams according to Pomeroy). Arizona averages just about 67 possessions, which certainly isn't 40-minutes-of-hell pace, but if they can get Ohio State running up and down, they could pull the upset.