In what is technically now called the NCAA Tournament’s “second round”, the No. 6 seeded Ohio State Buckeyes will meet the No. 11 seeded Dayton Flyers this upcoming Thursday in Buffalo, NY.
The game’s main storyline is quite an obvious one: Major conference and big time school from the state of Ohio against mid-major and smaller school that’s also located in the state of Ohio.
You think Archie Miller and his Flyers will be fired up for this one? Wow. They’ll have a tremendous opportunity to earn some in-state respect and can also end the illustrious career of Buckeyes senior Aaron Craft.
Craft, to me, will be the key to this game. People love to hate on the guy because of the way he plays. He’s not all that gifted offensively, but defensively, he’s a pest and the best on-ball defender in the entire country. Sure, Ohio State has had their struggles scoring the basketball this season, but Craft’s a winner, and man, I can’t help but think that in his last NCAA Tournament appearance, the Buckeyes are going to make a very deep run.
In order for that to happen, though, Thad Matta‘s ball club will have to first get by this very difficult Dayton team. The Flyers will be both hungry and ready. They have four players who average at least 10 points per game and have shown the ability to knock off quality opponents like Gonzaga, UMass and Saint Louis.
This contest will be a close one, but the Buckeyes’ defensive pressure and Craft’s will to win will ultimately be the difference.
Matthew Sturgeon is a College Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @OfficialSturg27