Ohio State had its first NCAA tournament game in three years against South Dakota Sate. It wasn’t easy, but the Buckeyes outlasted Mike Daum and the South Dakota State Jackrabbits to advance.
Ohio State Beats South Dakota State: 3 Things We Learned
Ohio State Is Best When It Plays With A Chip On Its Shoulder
More than any perhaps other matchup in the first round, Ohio State was the trendy upset pick by those that are supposed to know a little about basketball. Turns out the only thing that was trendy in this one was the amount of three pointers being shot and made.
The Buckeyes need to bottle the attitude it had in this one because it was the same thing that got them going in the Big Ten. OSU was picked eleventh — sometimes worse — in the preseason by a slew of writers, and it used the doubts to have one of the most surprising seasons we’ve seen in a long time.
But then when Ohio State had some success and was at the top of the conference looking down at everyone, it lost some of that grudge and emotion, tired out and lost the swagger.
Fast forward to this one, and the slight by the national media brought it all roaring back. Holtmann would be wise to use the lack of respect card the rest of the way, and you can be sure that he will because Gonzaga — who beat Ohio State by 27 points earlier in the year — is up next.
Keita Bates-Diop Looks Like His January Self
The college basketball season can be a grind. Add that to the condensed schedule so that the Big Ten tournament could be squashed into the schedule of Madison Square Garden, and Big Ten teams were forced to play a lot of games with little rest.
Ohio State rode Bates-Diop hard through the year, and rightly so, and you could see him wear down a bit heading down the stretch.
But there was an advantage to the condensed schedule that ended a week early. Ohio State lost early in the Big Ten tournament and didn’t play for almost two weeks meaning everyone got to sit back in the recliner and have a soda or two.
It was clear that Bates-Diop had his legs back, was energized and much more effective. He’ll need to find a way to channel that going forward if Ohio State has any designs of sticking around.
Good Guard Play Takes Ohio State To A Higher Level
You’ve probably heard it a hundred times. You have to have good guard play to advance in the NCAA tournament. That’s of course true. You can’t turn the ball over and give opponents more shots, or miss a bushel of shots from the outside and expect to hang in there against the quality teams in the NCAA tournament.
But it’s especially true for Ohio State. We’ve seen C.J. Jackson have big games before, and it makes the Buckeyes much more dangerous. Add Kam Williams to that mix, and it takes a ton of off the shoulders of Bates-Diop.
The Jackrabbits were giving up the shot from outside and both guards were happy to oblige and take advantage. Both logged 35 minutes with Jackson throwing in 20 points and Williams 22. And it’s not like they threw up shots at will, going a combined 16 of 34 (47%).
If both do similar work, and Dakich can continue to make thefts and assists like he did in this one, there’s a shot the Buckeyes can hang around longer than anyone outside of the 614 area code thinks.
Bring on the ‘Zags.
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