DAYTON FLYERS (23-10)
vs. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (25-9)
NCAA Tournament - Round of 64
First Niagara Center - Buffalo, NY
Tip-off: Thursday, 12:15 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -6, Total: 131
Two teams from the state of Ohio square off Thursday as No. 6 seed Ohio State takes on No. 11 Dayton in the South Region in Buffalo.
The Flyers have been playing some terrific basketball as of late, going 10-3 in their past 13 games, with all three of those losses coming to Saint Joseph’s, another Atlantic-10 team that made the NCAA Tournament. Dayton is 17-12 ATS overall and 10-6 ATS in non-home games, including 4-2 ATS on a neutral court. The Flyers have some impressive wins on their resume this season, defeating other NCAA tourney teams such as Gonzaga and Saint Louis, while losing to Baylor by only one point. Dayton is a very talented and athletic team that has a lot of players that can have big scoring nights. Another noteworthy aspect is the fact that six players on this team are from the state of Ohio, including two from Columbus. Many of these kids grew up Ohio State fans, and now the opportunity to beat that team will have them extra motivated. The Buckeyes are going to have to match the energy early of the Flyers, which has been a problem in the past two games, as Ohio State has dug itself a big hole early. They were able to come back from an 18-point deficit to Nebraska on March 14, but the next day they fell to Michigan despite taking a lead after being down 16 points. Ohio State is now a winless 0-4 ATS on neutral courts and 15-18 ATS overall, but the club has not lost a non-conference game all season, going 13-0 SU (6-6 ATS). The Buckeyes have shown the ability to be one of the best defensive teams in the nation this season, but Dayton is 26-12 ATS (68%) versus great defenses (42% FG or less allowed) in the past three seasons. However, Ohio State is 75-58 ATS (56%) when facing a good team (60% to 80% win pct.) under Thad Matta.
Can Ohio State win and cover the moderate spread in this game? For the latest college basketball picks, check out The Platinum Sheet for all the StatFox Experts selections every week throughout the entire 2013-14 season. The StatFox Experts opened the NCAA Tournament with a perfect 7-0 ATS mark in First Four games, making them a stellar 60% ATS (278-185-16) in college basketball Best Bets this season. StatFox Brian is on an amazing Best Bets run of 23-3-2 (89% ATS) since Feb. 6, 32-6-3 (84% ATS) since Jan. 17, and 74% ATS (57-20-3) since Nov. 26 to give him a robust 70% ATS (64-27-4) record in Best Bets for the season. StatFox Dave is 65% ATS (41-22-1) since in Best Bets Dec. 18 and 61% ATS (58-37-2) this season, while StatFox Scott is 70% ATS (14-6-2) since Feb. 16 and 59% ATS (54-38-4) for the season. StatFox Gary is 61% ATS (50-32) on Best Bets since Nov. 22 and 57% ATS (54-40-2) for the season, while StatFox Zach 64% ATS (7-4) since March 2.
The Flyers have been solid on the offensive end of the court this season, averaging 73.4 PPG (98th in Div. I) on 46.6% FG (59th in nation), but the defense has been lacking with 67.6 PPG allowed (112th in Div. I) on 43.9% FG (195th in nation). Junior SG Jordan Sibert (12.5 PPG, 44% threes) is the leading scorer for the Flyers, and what makes him special is that he is a very efficient scorer with shooting percentages of 46% FG, 44% threes and 71% FT. Senior PF Devin Oliver (12.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG) and sophomore SF Dyshawn Pierre (11.1 PPG, 5.6 RPG) are both efficient as well, shooting 49.5% FG and 49.3% FG, respectively, for the season. Oliver will be a big key in this game, as he will have to play a big role in the paint, helping keep the taller Buckeyes off the glass. Dayton can flat-out shoot the ball from deep, shooting 37.8% from the three-point line (51st in nation) Pierre, Oliver and SG Khari Price (6.6 PPG) all shoot at least 39% from behind the arc. Emotions will be high in this game, and the Flyers have to be patient and not get too sped up against a terrific Ohio State defense.
The Buckeyes enter the NCAA Tournament allowing just 59.8 PPG (12th in nation) on 40.5% FG (42nd in Div. I), With floor leaders like PGs Aaron Craft (9.6 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.6 RPG, 2.5 SPG) and Shannon Scott (7.6 PPG, 3.4 APG, 3.4 RPG, 2.0 SPG) pressuring the ball, opposing teams have had a lot of problems just getting into their offense. Despite having an elite defense, Ohio State scores a meager 69.8 PPG (207th in nation) on 44.9% FG and 32.6% threes (262nd in Div. I). PF LaQuinton Ross (15.4 PPG, 6.1 RPG) has the ability to be a star, but has been inconsistent at times. However, he was absolutely dominant in the Big Ten Tournament, averaging 23.3 PPG and 11.3 RPG in the team’s three games. At 6-foot-8 and 220 pounds, he is an absolute nightmare for opponents to prepare for. He is a quality shooter from the perimeter (36% threes), but is nearly unstoppable when he is attacking the rim. SG Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG) is the only other player averaging in double figures for the Buckeyes, and will play a big role in this game.