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The Cougars were strong at the start of the 84-55 win over Georgia State, and it turned it on to another level in the second half in the blowout win. They were brilliant from the field – hitting 52% of their shots – and moved the ball insanely well. They came up with 22 assists as they kept things moving in the second half. The Panthers had five.Houston’s defense is devastating, allowing next to nothing from three – it’s second in the nation allowing teams to hit 28% from beyond the arc – and it’s amazing on the boards. How did Houston turn the game into a rout? It outrebounded the Panther 51-27.
From the bubble to the second round, Ohio State finished 8th in the Big Ten, went 8-12 in the conference, and knocked out Big 12 Tournament champ Iowa State with a rock-solid game in the clutch of the 62-59 win. It wasn’t a great shooting game, and the Buckeyes weren’t amazing, but they outrebounded the Cyclones 38-31, and they hit their free throws.In general, scoring is an issue for the Buckeyes. and they’re not normally great on the offensive boards. But that was the difference against Iowa State – the second chance points. As long as it’s not a shootout against Houston, Ohio State has a shot.
Just how challenged will Ohio State be against the Houston defense? The Cougars do a whole lot of hacking, and the Buckeyes have to be great on the line, and they have to be strong enough on the boards to stay alive.Houston will be better on the glass – it comes from all angles to get the ball – and it’s No. 1 in the nation at field goal defense. The Buckeyes won’t hit 35% from the field, and it’s going to prove costly.It’ll be close throughout in a low-scoring game, and Houston will be stronger late. The team knows how to win.