Players on the Ohio State bench react late in the second half the Buckeyes' first round NCAA Tournament win over South Dakota State Thursday. Ohio State plays Gonzaga Saturday evening in the second round.
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No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Gonzaga
■ Time: 7:45 p.m.
■ Records: Ohio State is 25-8; Gonzaga is 31-4
■ TV: CBS
■ Radio: 106.5 FM
■ Series: Tied 1-1
■ When Ohio State has the ball: Ohio State will have to play differently than it did against South Dakota State. The Buckeyes shot a whopping 40 3-pointers against the Jackrabbits, which was more a result of SDSU’s defense than the Buckeyes’ wishes. Rest assured, things will not be going well for Ohio State if it is chucking 3s every other possession against Gonzaga. But OSU does need another outstanding game from its guards if it is going to advance. Kam Williams was the hero in round one, which bodes well for this game. Ohio State also needs good efforts from C.J. Jackson and Andrew Dakich in this game, during which possessions will be especially valuable. Against Gonzaga’s 14th-ranked defense, the Buckeyes can’t survive many turnovers or rely on just Keita Bates-Diop to score.
■ When Gonzaga has the ball: The Buckeyes will have to do a better job on guard Josh Perkins, who torched the OSU defense for 20 points on 6-for-9 shooting during Gonzaga’s 86-59 win when the teams met in November. Four of Gonzaga’s starting five average between 10.8 and 12.5 points, so the scoring is balanced. With shooting on the floor at all times, Ohio State will have to be especially mindful of how — or if — it uses its help defense.
■ Notes: Ohio State and Gonzaga met six years ago Saturday in the NCAA tournament, also to go to the Sweet 16. The Buckeyes won 73-66 en route to making the program’s most recent Final Four appearance. … Gonzaga is 14-18 against the spread this season. The Bulldogs are favored by 3.5 points in this one. … Gonzaga made 12 of its 25 3-point attempts in the first meeting with OSU and shot 59 percent from the floor. … The winner of this game will play Thursday in Los Angeles. If seeds hold, the opponent would be No. 1 Xavier.
Michigan forward Moritz Wagner beats Montana forward Fabijan Krslovic to a rebound during Thursday's first round NCAA Tournament game. The Wolverines face Houston Saturday evening in the second round.
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No. 3 Michigan vs. No. 6 Houston
■ Time: 9:40 p.m.
■ Records: Michigan is 29-7; Houston is 27-7
■ TV: TBS
■ Radio: 100.7 FM
■ Series: Michigan leads 2-1
■ Michigan on offense: Moritz Wagner must provide more offense than he did in the first round — five points in an uninspiring outing. “Michigan is a difficult prep because of how their five man plays, Wagner,” Houston coach Kelvin Sampson said. “We haven’t played against anybody like him. He’s a difficult matchup.” Aside from Charles Matthews, Michigan’s starting five scored a grand total of 21 points. If there’s a repeat against Houston, the Wolverines will not be in Los Angeles next week. Of course, the 10-day layoff now could be out of their system. At the Big Ten tournament, Michigan was similarly disjointed in their opening game before going on a roll. It could happen again in the NCAA tournament.
■ Michigan on defense: Good luck. The Wolverines will have their hands full against Houston’s star guard Rob Gray, who’s emerged as one of the biggest stories of the NCAA tournament’s opening weekend. His 39 points and buzzer-beating game-winning layup is what has the Cougars at this point. “He's really skilled, and he plays a really good pace,” Michigan senior guard Duncan Robinson said. “And he's playing with a lot of confidence right now. So combine all those things, and he's a tough matchup for anybody.” But if any team can handle him, it is these Wolverines. Michigan ranks in the top-five nationally defensively. The Cougars also have Corey Davis, Jr., one of the top 3-point shooters in the country.
■ Notes: Houston has won 11 of its past 13 games. … The Cougars’ rebounding margin of plus-6.6 is 18th-best nationally. ...Houston is eighth in field-goal percentage defense (39.6). … Kelvin Sampson and John Beilein are 1-1 head-to-head. … Three players are scoring in double figures for Houston — Gray (19.2 points), Corey Davis, Jr., (13.4), and Devin Davis (10.7). … If the Wolverines beat the Cougars, it would be UM’s fourth Sweet 16 in the past six years.
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