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The Ohio State Buckeyes will face a difficult Villanova Wildcats team in the Second Round of March Madness. These two teams last played each other in the 2019-20 season. Ohio State crushed Villanova in that game 76-51.
The Ohio State Buckeyes played well in non-conference play but struggled against conference opponents. They went 12-8 in conference play and could not beat the Big Ten’s top teams.
The Buckeyes are lead by one of the best players in the country in EJ Liddell. Liddell is having an excellent junior season and averaging 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.6 blocks. Liddell will likely be in the NBA next season.
Liddell is not the only scorer on this Ohio State team. The Buckeyes’ second leading scorer is Malaki Branham. Branham is a 6’5 freshman guard that can shoot and rebound. He averages 13.4 points on 49.7% shooting and grabs 3.6 rebounds a game.
Ohio State is a deep squad that was using a nine-man rotation during the season. I expect the rotation to be shortened in this game, but they will still have a lot of depth.
The Villanova Wildcats had an outstanding season and only lost seven games. Of those seven losses, only two came against unranked opponents.
Villanova has a bevy of scorers and puts up 72.6 points a game. Four Wildcats (Collin Gillespie, Justin Moore, Jermaine Samuels, and Caleb Daniels) score over ten points a game.
Collin Gillespie is the unquestioned leader on this team. He shoots efficiently from the field and averages 15.9 points per game. I would not be surprised to see him in the NBA next year.
Collin Moore joins Gillespie in the backcourt. Moore also shoots well and averages 15.2 points per game. He is a strong rebounding guard and pulls down five rebounds a game.
Villanova is an experienced team that won a National Championship a few seasons ago. They have a veteran squad and play smothering defense. Since they are more experienced and have a stronger roster, I am picking them to win this game.
Villanova beats Ohio State 68-61. Villanova covers, Under 132.5 points.
|Ohio State Buckeyes||Head-to-Head||Villanova Wildcats|
|Chris Holtman||Head Coach||Jay Wright|
|20-11 (12-8, 5th in Big Ten)||Standing||27-7 (16-4, 2nd in Big East)|
|Leader (Per Game)|
|EJ Liddell (19.5)||PPG||Collin Gillespie (15.9)|
|EJ Liddell (8.0)||RPG||Jermaine Samuels (6.3)|
|Jamari Wheeler (2.9)||APG||Collin Gillespie (3.4)|
|Jamari Wheeler (1.3)||SPG||Brandon Slater (1.1)|
|EJ Liddell (2.6)||BPG||Jermaine Samuels (0.7)|
|Zed Key (.573)||FG%||Eric Dixon (.509)|
|Cedric Russell (.439)||3P%||Eric Dixon (.483)|
The Buckeyes are not favored to win this game. However, they can emerge victorious if they create turnovers and win the rebounding battle.
The Buckeyes struggle on defense. They give up 67.6 points per game and only average 4.4 steals per game. They need to be more active on defense and cut off passing lanes. If they cut off passing lanes and steal the ball, they will limit Villanova’s scoring opportunities.
Ohio State and Villanova have similarly-sized teams. They are both guard-heavy and average about the same amount of rebounds. If the Buckeyes put in more effort on the glass, they will win the rebounding battle and likely win the game.
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The Villanova Wildcats are expected to win this game, but they have to protect the rim and get to the free-throw line to do so.
Villanova has a dominant defense. They play in one of the toughest basketball conferences in the nation and only give up 63 points per game. However, they are a small team with a lot of guards. They need to play like they are big and protect the rim.
Villanova shoots very well from the free-throw line. They hit 82.3% of their free-throw attempts, better than many NBA teams. They need to draw fouls any way they can and get to the line. This should not be too difficult; they average over 16 free-throw attempts a game.
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This was a very easy choice. EJ Liddell is the star on this team and the best player.
Liddell averages 19.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.6 blocks per game. He may not be a guard, but he is the leader on this team. He needs to step up in this game and lead the Buckeyes to victory.
This also was an easy choice. Collin Gillespie has led this team in his final season of college basketball. He averages 15.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and one steal a game.
Gillespie is a knockdown shooter that will make you pay if you leave him open. He shoots 44.3% from the field, 42.3% from deep, and 89.4% from the free-throw line.
Gillespie is a versatile offensive player, but he needs to get to the free-throw line this game. He can build a lead for Villanova by making free-throws.
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|Ohio State Buckeyes vs Villanova Wildcats Information|
|What||Ohio State Buckeyes vs Villanova Wildcats|
|Where||PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania|
|When||Sunday, March 20, 2:40 PM EST|
|How to Watch||CBS|
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Max Heering graduated from the University of Kansas Sport Management program in May 2020. Max follows and writes about the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, MLS, college football, and college basketball. In his free time, you can catch Max draining threes on the basketball court. Email: [email protected]More info on Max Heering
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