The opener of the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament turned out to be a tough one for Ohio State fans across the nation; the 11-seed Dayton Flyers upset the 6-seed Buckeyes in a classic that will not be forgotten in the state of Ohio for some time.
A number of things went wrong for Ohio State. The first difference in a game where the stat lines were incredibly close is found at the free-throw line. Ohio State went 8-for-12 (66.7%) from the charity stripe while Dayton went 13-for-17 (76.5%). In a game where the winning margin is only one, it is clear how a five-point advantage from the line is a huge boost. Ohio State did not take advantage from the opportunities it had, and it proved costly when the last buzzer sounded.
Careless turnovers were the second problem the Buckeyes had Thursday afternoon. Turnovers were an issue for Ohio State during the regular season and Big Ten Tournament. In the 25 games the Buckeyes won, they turned the ball over only 10.6 times per game. In the nine games the Buckeyes lost, they turned it over 12.9 times per game. Against Dayton, Ohio State coughed up the ball 14 times, many of those turnovers careless passes into the stands or the open hands of a Flyer. Aaron Craft andLaQuinton Ross each had five turnovers, and the Buckeyes never seemed interested in holding onto the ball.
The third problem the Buckeyes had was their lack of intensity the first 30 minutes of the game. The Buckeyes started off with a 5-0 lead, but for the next 30 minutes, Dayton played with more intensity and effort. When the Buckeyes finally cranked up their energy, the Flyers ramped up their play as well. Somehow, Dayton wanted this game more than the Buckeyes did; at least, that is what appeared to be the case when watching the game.
The last reason the Buckeyes lost was because of their inability to finish drives and in the paint. On countless occasions, Craft, Shannon Scott and even Lenzelle Smith Jr. took the ball to the basket and were just unable to finish. Amir Williams faced the same problem. On two particular instances, Williams caught the ball on the block, and rather than going straight up for the bucket, he brought the ball down and prepared to jump. In this small amount of time, the Dayton defense was able to regroup and surround Williams. When Williams would go up to slam it home, he was either stripped or he clanked the ball against the backboard, wasting another opportunity.
With Ohio State's offensive struggles, they have a limited number of possessions they can waste before it comes back to haunt them. On Thursday afternoon, Ohio State wasted one too many possessions, and credit the Dayton Flyers for taking advantage of those Buckeye mistakes. Dayton proved to be the better and more effective team, and they deserve to hold it over its "big brother" until they meet again.