Ohio State is through to the second round of the NCAA tournament, but the Buckeyes’ tough road to the second weekend now gets more difficult. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes beat No. 12 South Dakota 81-73 on Thursday in a first-round game in Boise to assure their place in the round of 32. Their prize? A date Saturday with 2017 national runner-up Gonzaga. Here are three things to know about the Bulldogs:
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins drives against UNC-Greensboro during the teams' first-round game. Perkins had 20 points in the Bulldogs' first game vs. Ohio State this year.
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1. The Buckeyes and Bulldogs met earlier this season.
And to say it did not go well for Ohio State would be an understatement. OSU and Gonzaga played in November, and it was one-way traffic from the start. Gonzaga shot almost 59 percent from the field, 12 for 25 from 3-point range, and won 86-59. In the rematch, the Buckeyes will have to devise a plan for Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins, who went for 20 points, four assists, and two steals in 32 minutes in the first game.
2. Gonzaga survived a scare in the first round.
The Bulldogs, a No. 4 seed, were tied at 64 with 13th-seeded North Carolina-Greensboro and struggled to put away the game from the free-throw line, but Gonzaga avoided the upset, winning 68-64. It wasn’t an inspiring performance, but the same could have been said of Gonzaga’s run in 2017. The Bulldogs were in a low-scoring game (ironically, against South Dakota State) and managed to push away late for a 66-46 win.
3. Gonzaga is one of the most well-rounded teams in college basketball.
Gonzaga ranked 13th in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency, 15th in adjusted defensive efficiency, seventh in the field-goal percentage, seventh in defensive rebounding, and 20th in field-goal percentage defense. As Ohio State found out once, the current Gonzaga team doesn’t have a glaring weakness.
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