Only one of the five B1G teams in the third (second) round were in action on Saturday. The Ohio State Buckeyes advanced past their first game with a win over VCU on Thursday. OSU drew a very difficult Arizona team, that many have projected as a favorite to win the entire NCAA Tournament.
Game of the Day: #10 Ohio State vs. #2 Arizona
In what may end up being his final college game, D'Angelo Russell struggled to hit shots, going 3-19 from the field. Russell's Buckeyes weren't able to pick up the slack and fell to a tough Arizona squad. Ohio State kept it close in the first half, and were able to put up enough of a fight to keep it within one at the half. However, in the second half Arizona kept pulling away bit by bit. The Wildcats were able to push it to 15 shortly before the six minute mark and OSU was never able to recover.
Russell was only able to manage 9 points on the day, but did add 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Senior Sam Thompson led the Buckeyes in his final game with 19 points, while Shannon Scott added 10. The Wildcat's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Stanley Johnson both had 10 rebounds as Arizona dominated on the boards, but the two also shot just 4-24 combined on the day, scoring 11 and 4 respectively. The Cats got their scoring from T.J. McConnell and non-starter Gabe York, both finished with 19 points. Arizona will now face another Ohio school in the next round. This time it is Xaiver, with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line.
A disappointing outcome to be sure, but Buckeye fans can take solace in the fact that their wrestling team won their first national championship today.
Non-B1G Game of the Day:
#6 Butler vs. #3 Notre Dame
There was a lot of good games on the day outside of the conference today. The biggest upset of the day was delivered by the North Carolina State Wolfpack over Villanova. However, for my money, the best game of the day was a meeting of two Indiana schools. The Bulldogs and Fighting Irish played a heck of a back-and-forth game that came right down to the wire with the score tied at 55. With six seconds to play, Roosevelt Jones missed a shot to win it. However, due to a rare, but correct double-dribble call after an ND board, Butler got a second chance at a game-winning shot with just two seconds left, but Pat Connaughton got a huge block to help send it to overtime.
In OT, the Irish were able to fight to a three point lead before Jerian Grant imposed his will on the drive and laid the ball up to put the game out of reach. Grant finished with 16 points, 5 boards and 5 assists, while Steve Vasturia scored 20, including a big trey in the extra period. For the Bulldogs, Jones had 23 points, Andrew Chrabascz had 20 and Kameron Woods had 8 plus 15 rebounds. Notre Dame will now face the winner of Kansas and Wichita State in the Sweet Sixteen.