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NCAA Tournament Dayton Flyers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/20/14

Dayton Flyers (23-10) at Ohio State Buckeyes (25-9)

College Basketball: Thursday, March 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm (First Niagara Center)

The Line: Ohio State Buckeyes -6 -- Over/Under: 130 See the Latest Odds


The Dayton Flyers play the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday in Buffalo, NY.

Ohio State finished 25-9 on the year. The sixth-seeded Buckeyes, who bowed out in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament with a 72-69 loss to Michigan on Saturday, have reached the Sweet 16 in each of their last four trips to the tournament and got to the Elite Eight in 2013 before being upset by Wichita State. Thad Matta's crew is 10-5 since a midseason four-game slide, with each of its last six games decided by single digits. This marks the last tournament run for Buckeyes seniors Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., two players who are no strangers to March pressure. Craft averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 assists and 3.2 steals as a sophomore in Ohio State's 2012 Final Four run while Smith clocked in with three double-digit scoring efforts, and both were factors en route to the Elite Eight in 2013. Junior Shannon Scott, who had 10 assists in a win over Iona to begin last season's tournament showing, scored 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting in the loss to rival Michigan over the weekend.

NCAA Tournament Dayton Flyers vs. Ohio State Buckeyes Pick-Odds-Prediction 3/20/14

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Dayton Flyers finished the regular season with a 23-10 record overall. The 11th-seeded Flyers are in the tournament for the first time under third-year coach Archie Miller, who guided his squad to 10 wins in 11 games prior to a loss to eventual Atlantic 10 champion Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals of that league's tourney on Friday. Each of Dayton's last three losses dating back to late-January came against the Hawks, two by a three-point margin. The Flyers boast a deep and balanced scoring attack led by junior guard Jordan Sibert, (12.5 points) who is averaging 14.6 points over his last five games while shooting 59 percent from the floor. Devin Oliver (12.1) and Dyshawn Pierre (11.1) are the other double-digit scorers while Vee Sanford - who had 23 points on a remarkable 9-of-9 shooting effort in a win over Fordham in the first round of the A-10 tourney - comes in at 9.9. Nine players averaged at least 12.9 minutes for Miller, who is looking to lead the team to its first tournament win since it knocked off West Virginia in 2009, also as an 11 seed, before losing to Kansas in the second round.

Ohio State, led by Craft and Smith, will be looking to make a run in the NCAA tournament, but they may have a difficult time getting past the Flyers in their first game. Dayton has a deep and experienced squad as well and I think they will give the Buckeyes all they can handle in this one. If the Flyers don’t win outright, I think they keep it within 7 points.

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