Preview: No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. No. 15 Iona Gaels

Tip: Friday, March 22, 7:15 pm Court: Dayton, OH.

Watch it on: CBS  Announcers: Jim Nantz, Clark Kellogg, Tracy Wolfson

Winner will play: No. 7 Notre Dame/ No. 10 Iowa St.

Spread: Buckeyes -13

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Record: 26-7 Conference record: 13-5 Neutral court: 5-0

Leaders: Points: D. Thomas (19.5)

Rebounds: Thomas (6.2)

Assists: A. Craft (4.6)

 

 

Iona_Gaels03

Record: 20-13 Conference record: 11-7 Neutral court: 4-3

Leaders: Points: L. Jones (23)

Rebounds: D. Laury (10.4)

Assists: Jones (3.5)

 

Matchups:

Buckeyes offense vs. Gaels defense

As I talked about in the first preview, the Buckeyes should have their way with Iona’s defense. Accoring to KenPom, Iona has a defensive  efficiency rating of 105.5, good for 255th in the country and the worst out of all of the teams who made the NCAA tournament. They have let up 80+ points 11 times this season and seem to focus more on their offense rather than their defense. The Gaels also do not defend the 3-ball well at all, ranking 304th (ESPN insider) in the country. Opponents hit a three pointer almost four out of every ten possessions down the court! Not only are they poor on the ball but they are a poor defensive rebounding team. Iona is ranked 258th in the country in defensive rebounding percentage, only getting the defensive rebound 67.8 percent of the time. This could be the game where Amir Williams is a rebounding/ offensive factor inside the paint. The Gaels normally play a man to man defense but could switch to a 2-3 zone if they are getting beat man to man. The Buckeyes need to dictate the pace in this game and get Thomas going early. Having Aaron Craft as the floor general helps, as he usually does a pretty good job of slowing the game down and controlling the pace of the offense.

Gaels offense vs. Buckeyes defense

The Gael’s offense is averaging 80.7 points per game which is second best in the nation. They are also very efficient for a team that pushes the tempo, KenPom has their offensive efficiency at 113.4, ranked 20th best in the country. They have the two guards (Jones and Sean Armond) that score the basketball and do not turn the ball over. Their turnover percentage is 16.6, which is 16th best in the nation. For a team that plays at such a high tempo, it is very surprising that they do not turn the ball over often. The only way the Gaels can defeat the Buckeyes is if they dictate the pace of the game and get the Buckeyes to join in on a track meet. They want to push the ball down the court but I think Craft and Shannon Scott can disrupt their magnificent guard play. The knock on Jones is that he can force up bad shots but he can also take a game over if he gets hot. He brings swagger and has a clutch gene where he wants the ball in his hands at the end of the game. One thing about the Gaels though is that they do not lack confidence.

Prediction: 

Excellent on-ball, back court pressure by the Buckeyes’ defense will be Iona’s offensive kryptonite.

Buckeyes 79

Gaels 65

What is your prediction on this match-up? Let us know in the comments below!

Comments

  1. Jay Johnson says:

    84 to 58 tOSU

  2. Good preview. Statistically it doesn’t look like it should be even close, but if someone gets hot like you say it could be a little closer. But I see this as the Buckeyes putting a stake in the ground and showing what their defense is capable of.

    OSU: 81
    Iona: 64

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