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The opening Thursday and Friday of March Madness is arguably the best two day period of the year for sports fans. The first game on Thursday afternoon is Dayton vs. Ohio State. The Flyers have wanted to play the Buckeyes for years, and it has never happened. The selection committee made sure it happened this year. These two will meet in Buffalo, New York. Let’s take a closer look at this intriguing matchup.

#11-Dayton Flyers vs. #6- Ohio State Buckeyes Free Pick & Preview

South Region

Date/Time: March 20, 12:15 pm EST on CBS

College Basketball Betting Odds from WagerWeb

College Basketball Betting Favorite: Ohio State -6

Total: 131.5


Game Preview:

The Dayton Flyers were considered on the outside looking in at the tournament field a few short weeks ago. The Flyers took matters into their own hands by picking up some very nice wins down the stretch. Dayton lost only two games since February 1st, and both of those were to a good St. Joe’s team. The Flyers beat St. Louis on the road in an elite win, and their win at home against UMass was helpful as well. Dayton had the most efficient offense in the Atlantic 10 Conference this year. The Flyers have nine guys who play on a regular basis, so their depth is an area of strength.

Jordan Sibert, who used to play for Ohio State before transferring to Dayton, is the Flyers leading scorer at 12.5 points per game. He’ll certainly be motivated to play his hold team. As a whole, I expect this Dayton team to be extremely motivated for this game. Many players on this Dayton roster wanted to go to Ohio State, but weren’t recruited by the Buckeyes. I think the in-state rivalry side of this game means more to Dayton than Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have been up and down all year. Ohio State has some great wins this year, but they also have some confusing losses. This is a pretty talented team that can really guard well, but they haven’t put the pieces together on the offensive end. Aaron Craft is a terrific leader and an elite on the ball defender, but he isn’t a scorer. Lenzelle Smith Jr. has had a disappointing senior season for the Buckeyes. Sam Thompson is a high flyer, but he isn’t a great all-around player at this point. LaQuinton Ross is the team’s best scorer, but when he isn’t on this offense can look lost.

Ohio State is shooting just 32.6% from long range this year, and that has caused many opponents to pack it in the paint against Ohio State and make the Buckeyes try to win with long range jumpers. While Ohio State may be offensively challenged, the Buckeyes have one of the top ten defenses in the country. You aren’t going to find many easy shot opportunities against this defense. This will be the best defense Dayton has had to go up against all year long.

Free Pick: Dayton +6

Dayton is peaking at the right time, and this game means a lot to the Flyers. Ohio State hasn’t been blowing teams out all year. The Buckeyes are the better team, but they’ll have to work very hard here. I like the points and the underdog.

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