In Saturday’s round three match-up in the NCAA Tournamant against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, The Ohio State Buckeyes met their opponent at the corral with enough ammunition for an good old fashioned shootout.
In the first ten minutes, the game saw 6 ties and 8 lead changes. The Buckeyes turned over the ball six times. Yet they were able to keep the game within four early and weather the storm throughout in the 73-66 victory, advancing to the sweet sixteen, where they will take on the winner of Florida State and Cincinnati (who play at 9:40 on Sunday) next Thursday.
The Buckeyes have advanced to the Round of 32 for the third time in three years. This time around their opponent is the 7th seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, a team that has been to the dance many times in the last decade.
Coach Mark Few is one of the only coaches in the country to regularly put together 20 win seasons. Since he first joined Gonzaga in 1999, his first Head Coaching gig, his teams have not won fewer than 23 games in a season. He and Thad Matta are the only coaches with upwards of a decade of straight 20 win seasons, making this game a particularly interesting matchup of coaching minds.
Gonzaga has also never failed to make the NCAA Tournament while under Few, but have never advanced further than the Sweet 16. The last two seasons have seen the ‘Zags only win their first game in the tournament before being knocked out. That’s a streak the Buckeyes would obviously like to continue this season.
The Bulldogs are surprisingly led in scoring by a freshman this season. Guard Kevin Pangos (6-1, 180) out of Ontario, Canada, is averaging nearly 14 points per game and 3 rebounds. He shoots a cool 40.7% from beyond the arc in 32 minutes per game and will most likely be Aaron Craft’s defensive assignment. He’s more than a scorer, though, and is skilled at feeding his teammates in good positions to score. He’s also good at protecting the basketball, losing control less than twice per game.