#2 Ohio State (-16) vs #15 Oral Roberts
3:00 pm, CBS
Contrary to popular belief, the 15/2 upset is not very common. People think that it is because of 2012, when TWO 15-seeds won, including Lehigh shocking Duke, and then the very next year was Dunk City making the Sweet 16. But, there has only been one since 2013 and there were only 4 before 2012. In all, 15-seeds are 8-132 in the first round. However, if it is gonna happen this year…this might be the one (for the record, I am not picking this or even considering picking it – just saying).
When the Buckeyes beat Penn State on Feb 18, they were 18-4, ranked 4th in the country and were sitting as a projected 1-seed in pretty much all bracketologies. But, they lost their last 4 reg season games and looked to be sliding. Until the B1G Tournament, when they beat Minnesota, Purdue, and Michigan before losing in OT to Illinois in the title game. They look to be back in midseason form. 6’7” SO E.J. Liddell (16.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 49% FG, 37% from three) has become a superstar, and 6’3” JR Duane Washington (15.3 ppg, 2.9 apg, 37% from three) is so fun to watch because he’s so smooth with a soft touch. He and his awesome “no f’s to give” attitude dropped a 30-spot on the Illini 6’1” SR PG C.J. Walker (9.1 ppg, 4.2 apg) is about as rock solid as they come, and 6’7” JR Justice Sueing (10.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), a Hawaiian who started his career at Cal, has really become a nice player to go with his great judicial name. One issue with the Buckeyes is the tallest guy on their roster is only 6’8” and that’s SR Kyle Young (8.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg), who is dealing with a high ankle sprain and will not be 100%. But, if they are up late, they can finish the game because their two primary ballhandlers are RIDICULOUS FT shooters – Washington (90%) and Walker (95%).
Now, I’m not going to “mid-major shame” anyone here because I don’t expect everyone – even people who cover college hoops for a living – to pay attention to the little leagues. They don’t really matter, I get it. And, that’s fine. But, don’t pretend to follow them. Don’t pretend that reading a kenpom page makes you an expert on that team. And, there are a LOT of professional college basketball writers who act as if they care about mid-major hoops, but don’t pay the least bit of attention. And, do you know how I know that? Because I have heard countless people, in the last week, talk about ORU as a threat to OSU. That is true. But, they do so while referencing how great of a scorer Max Abmas is. And, that is also true. But, when you hear them say “Max Ab-miss,” you know that they’ve never actually seen an ORU game. The dude plays 37 minutes a game for the Golden Eagles…and his name is clearly pronounced “Ace-miss.” I have no idea why it’s spelled Abmas, but it’s pronounced “Ace-miss.” And, Mr. Abmas is the only player in the country who averages more points per game than Luka Garza. The 6’1″ SO Max Abmas is averaging 24.7 ppg on the strength of 84 three-pointers with ridiculous percentages of 49/46/90%. WOWOWOWOW! Abmas also averages 3.2 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 1.5 spg. And, all of this usage and he only averages 2.0 TO per game. You will not see a better pure shooter on any team in any tournament in America over the next two weeks plus he averages 3.5 assists per game. And, yet…he still might not even be the best all-around player on his own team. 6’8″ JR Kevin Obanor (18.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 50/46/88%) is an absolute monster! These two are unbelievable on the mid-major level and lead a top-70 offense. They are not good at all defensively, but they can score with anyone.
Continue reading “2021 NCAA Tournament Preview – Friday, Late Afternoon Games”