Ohio State-Gonzaga Preview: Analysis, Prediction, Date and TV Tip Time, Point Spread, and Tickets

There are 16 “Round of 32” games on Saturday and Sunday as the most exciting weekend of the sports calendar continues. As we always do every March here at MSF, we try to cover you with previews, informed and reasoned predictions, and pertinent viewing info as soon as we can get it posted.

In this post, we preview the East Region’s second round matchup between #2 Ohio State and the 7th-seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Ohio State-Gonzaga Game Info

  • Seeds & Region: #2 Ohio State v #7 Gonzaga in East Region
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga Date: Saturday, 3/17
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga Tip Time: 2:45 ET
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga Location: Pittsburgh
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga TV: CBS
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga Announcers: Kevin Harlan and Len Elmore
  • Ohio State-Gonzaga Point Spread: Ohio State -7.5
  • Tickets: Ohio State-Gonzaga Tickets
  • Tickets: East Regional Tickets in Atlanta

Ohio State-Gonzaga Analysis and Prediction

On Thursday night, Gonzaga blew out West Virginia, and Ohio State did the same against Loyola (MD) to set up a second round matchup between the two schools.  The Zags jumped out to a big lead and never looked back, as the team made 9-of-17 from three point range and four players scored in double figures.  The Buckeyes got 31 points and 12 rebounds from sophomore Deshaun Thomas in a 19-point victory over the Greyhounds.

Ohio State finished the season as the top-rated team in terms of defensive efficiency, but they should be challenged by a balanced Gonzaga attack that boasts talented frontcourt players like Robert Sacre, Elias Harris, and Sam Dower to go with sharpshooters Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell in the backcourt.

The two key areas to watch will be OSU’s three-point defense and its ability to force turnovers.  If Pangos and the Bulldogs started hitting from long range, it will open up more space on the interior for their big men to operate.  That could in turn put Jared Sullinger in more situations to pick up fouls, which Ohio State cannot afford.

Led by Aaron Craft’s on-ball pressure, Ohio State ranks in the Top 50 in turnover rate, but the Bulldogs are in the middle of the pack offensively in that category.  Gonzaga also rates as one of the top teams in terms of free throw rate, but the Buckeyes are among the best at keep their opponents off the stripe.  Obviously something has to give there.

On the other end of the floor, look for Ohio State to pound it inside, because despite Gonzaga’s size, they allow opponents to shoot over 46 percent on two-pointers, while the Buckeyes make nearly 54 percent inside the arc.  Don’t expect many turnovers though, as Ohio State doesn’t give it away, and Gonzaga doesn’t take it either.

Instead, offensive rebounding will be key for the Buckeyes.  They rank in the Top 50 in offensive rebounding percentage, but Gonzaga is in the Top 50 in defensive rebounding percentage.  As a point of comparison, the Zags allowed West Virginia to grab 10 of their 33 misses on Thursday, and the Mountaineers came in with roughly the same offensive rebounding percentage as Ohio State.  If OSU can get to double-digits in second chance points, I like their chances to advance.

Gonzaga turned in one of the first round’s best performances, but I think Ohio State’s pressure and experience in the backcourt will be too much as the frontcourts cancel each other out.  Deshaun Thomas has also been fantastic down the stretch, and he’ll be a tough matchup for the Bulldogs.

Predicted Winner: Ohio State

thad-matta-march-madness-2012-ohio-state-gonzaga-preview-prediction-tickets-tv-tip-time

Ohio State Buckeyes Team Capsule

  • Conference: Big Ten
  • Record: 27-7 (13-5 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 6-4
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 10-6
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: Duke, Florida, Indiana, Lamar, Michigan (2), Michigan State, Purdue (2), Wisconsin
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Michigan State (2), Wisconsin
  • Player to Watch: Jared Sullinger (6’9” C, So.) – 17.6  ppg, 9.3 rpg, 53.9 FG%

Ohio State Bottoms Line:

The Buckeyes had a somewhat disappointing season but still finished in a first-place tie for the Big Ten title and made it to the conference championship game.  The quartet of Jared Sullinger, Deshaun Thomas, William Buford, and Aaron Craft do the heavy lifting for Ohio State, and they have routinely gotten little production from their bench.

Sullinger had another solid season and is a load in the post and on the glass.  He consistently puts pressure on opposing defenses and boasts a solid free throw rate.  Thomas has stepped up with an outstanding sophomore year, hitting over 61 percent from two-point range and scoring over 15 points per game.  Buford has been somewhat inconsistent, and the Buckeyes are a different basketball team when he is on his game.  The point guard position is in good hands with Craft, who has a solid assist rate and is one of the best on-ball defenders in the country.

Interestingly enough, Ohio State finished the season first in both offensive and defensive efficiency on KenPom, which in some ways bodes well for their tournament hopes.  They Buckeyes have really missed the shooting of Jon Diebler and David Lighty, as they are making just 32.5 percent from beyond the arc.  They do rank 12th in two-point shooting percentage and take great care of the basketball.  Defensively, OSU rarely allows offensive rebounds and does a nice job keeping their opponents off the line.  They also rank in the Top 60 in turnover rate and effective field goal percentage defense.

Ultimately, Ohio State’s key to a deep NCAA run is the play of Buford who needs to find his shooting stroke as his final trip to the Big Dance begins.

Gonzaga Bulldogs Team Capsule

  • Conference: West Coast
  • Record: 25-6 (13-3 conf)
  • Last 10 Games: 8-2
  • Record vs. Tournament Teams: 5-4
  • Wins vs. Tournament Teams: BYU (2), Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s, Xavier
  • Losses vs. Tournament Teams: BYU, Michigan State, Saint Mary’s (2)
  • Player to Watch: Kevin Pangos (6’1” G, Fr.) – 13.8 ppg, 3.4 apg, 1.2 spg, 40.5 3P%

Gonzaga Bottoms Line:

The Zags were once a Cinderella story, but they have since become a perennial tournament team.  Four players score in double figures, led by freshman Kevin Pangos, who has a sweet stroke from beyond the arc and has proven to be an able passer as well.

Gonzaga boasts a number of talented frontcourt options as well with Elias Harris (13.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 50.5 FG%), Robert Sacre (11.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 50.5 FG%), and Sam Dower (8.5 ppg, 3.7 mpg, 54.6 FG%) all contributing from game-to-game.  All three are consistent contributors on the glass, and Sacre has an absurdly good 89.4 free throw rate.

The Bulldogs can shoot it well both inside and outside the arc, and they rank fifth nationally in free throw rate.  They are solid on defense as well, and they do a particularly nice job of limiting offensive rebounds against them and not putting their opponents on the line.

**********

Related: Jump to our East Region Bracket Breakdown

 



About Andy Bottoms

While Andy was born and raised in Indiana, he would like to point out that he grew up shooting hoops in his driveway and not against the side of a barn like you see in all the March Madness promos or in the middle of a field like Jimmy Chitwood. Andy ranks among the top bracketologists according to the Bracket Matrix and has provided his projections to Fox Sports for the past three seasons. When not compiling excuses for missing work during the NCAA Tournament, Andy enjoys spending time with his wife and two daughters. He is a proud IU graduate and co-hosts The Assembly Call postgame show following every IU game. Twitter: @AndyBottoms

Comments

  1. Hard telling how this game will pan out. I’m a Spokane fan of the Zags. Some other players not mentioned above may figure into this game: Spangler, Edi, Carter and Hart. The Zags are deep. If they win (which is in my bracket) it’ll be due to the depth of talent on the team. They are all playing well together now.

    • Andy Bottoms says:

      Thanks Steve, I try to keep these relatively short, but Edi has definitely improved quite a bit as the season went on.  I picked them to beat WV but was really impressed with how well they played.  Buckeyes should be worried about the number of big bodies the Zags can throw at Sullinger, that’s for sure. 

  2. This is the precise weblog for anybody who desires to seek out out about this topic. You realize a lot its nearly laborious to argue with you (not that I really would want…HaHa). You undoubtedly put a brand new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Nice stuff, just great!

  3. At this time it looks like Expression Engine is the best blogging platform out there right now.

    (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

  4. Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really well written article.
    I will be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful information. Thanks for
    the post. I will definitely comeback.

  5. I visited various websites but the audio feature for audio songs existing at this site is truly fabulous.

  6. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you
    using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at alternatives for another platform.
    I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a
    good platform.

  7. Hello there, I found your blog by means of Google at the same time as looking for a related topic, your web site got here up, it appears to be like great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks.

  8. Sorry for the huge review, but I’m really loving the new Zune, and hope this, as well as the excellent reviews some other people have written, will help you decide if it’s the right choice for you.

  9. Hi there, this weekend is fastidious in support of me, since this point in time i am reading this impressive educational article here at my residence.

  10. The Zune concentrates on being a Portable Media Player. Not a web browser. Not a game machine. Maybe in the future it’ll do even better in those areas, but for now it’s a fantastic way to organize and listen to your music and videos, and is without peer in that regard. The iPod’s strengths are its web browsing and apps. If those sound more compelling, perhaps it is your best choice.

  11. I absolutely love your blog and find almost all of your post’s to be precisely what I’m looking for. can you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome web log!

  12. certainly like your web site however you need to check the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I to find it very bothersome to inform the reality on the other hand I will surely come again again.

  13. My partner and i never know about you individuals but also for us the particular format of your weblog is very important… I might declare virtually as much as the particular submit by itself. Moreover I am insane regarding movies… or perhaps, ought to be reality, Virtually any advertising content in any respect. As a result, anytime My partner and i find a write-up along these types of traces My spouse and i merely want the particular OP embeds some on the web movie somewhere. These days, the many blog owners usually don’t… I can not think about the reason why?… We otherwise this could happen varies dependant when the content… However I nonetheless imagine that it will be suitable for nearly any sort of content material, as it would likely continually be nice to determine the comfortable and also helpful confront or possibly hear a new voice whenever very first getting. Anyhow, lokks like I am a little bit away subject using this type of?.. Proper… It appears to be that! Hehe… Thanks a good deal with regard to enriching the internet with this post!

  14. I really like your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you create this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz respond as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to know where u got this from. kudos

  15. Very good written story. It will be helpful to everyone who usess it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing i will definitely read more posts.

  16. I was just looking for this information for some time. After six hours of continuous Googleing, finally I got it in your website. I wonder what is the lack of Google strategy that do not rank this kind of informative websites in top of the list. Generally the top web sites are full of garbage.

  17. Definitely believe that which you said. Your favorite reason appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I certainly get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top as well as defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  18. Pretty! Thhis has been ann incredibly wonderful post. Thanks for supplying these details.Also visit my blog :: m88sb

  19. Hey there, You’ve done a fantastic job. I will definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I am confident they will be benefited from this web site.

  20. Awsome post and straight to the point. I don’t know if this is in fact the best place to ask but do you people have any thoughts on where to hire some professional writers? Thank you

  21. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact was a amusement account it. Look advanced to more added agreeable from you! By the way, how can we communicate?

  22. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it’s time to be happy. I have read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you some interesting things or tips. Perhaps you can write next articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

  23. Hi there, is it rite to simply study from publications not to pay a visit internet for latest updates, what you say guys?

  24. Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  25. Excellent blog you’ve got here.. It’s difficult to find quality writing like yours these days.

  26. Wow! This could be one particular of the most beneficial blogs We’ve ever arrive across on this subject. Actually Excellent. I’m also an expert in this topic therefore I can understand your hard work.

  27. I am continually looking online for ideas that can facilitate me. Thank you!

  28. It’s exhausting to search out knowledgeable individuals on this subject, however you sound like you realize what you’re speaking about! Thanks

  29. I couldn’t refrain from commenting. Very well written!

  30. Great article! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared across the internet.

  31. It’s appropriate time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I could I wish to suggest you few interesting things or tips. Maybe you can write next articles referring to this article. I want to read even more things about it!

  32. Thanks designed for sharing such a fastidious idea, paragraph is nice, thats why i have read it entirely

Speak Your Mind