Despite a furious, late-game rally by the No. 12 South Dakota State Jackrabbits, the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes held on for a 81-73 victory in their first game in the NCAA Tournament since the 2015 season. Earlier on Thursday at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho, the No. 4 Gonzaga Bulldogs also had a difficult fight, there’s coming against the No. 13 UNC Greensboro Spartans. Last year’s national runners-up got a late three-pointer from Zach Norvell that propelled them to a 68-64 win.
After all of the day’s games were completed, the NCAA announced that the two teams would meet for the second time this year at 7:45 p.m. ET on Saturday, March 17 on CBS.
The Buckeyes and Bulldogs met on Thanksgiving night, Nov. 23, in Portland, Ore. as part of the PK80 Tournament. The Zags ran away with an 86-59 blowout win. In that game, the eventual Big Ten Player of the Year Keita Bates-Diop was held to just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting. Jae’Sean Tate and C.J. Jackson led the Buckeyes in scoring with a dozen points apiece, but it was Gonzaga’s pair of Johnathan Williams and Josh Perkins that dominated the game with 21 and 20 points respectively.
The Buckeyes will look to move into the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2013, while the Zags will look to book their fourth straight trip.
The OSU Women’s team will open up their NCAA Tournament on Saturday as well. The No. 3 Buckeyes will host the No. 14 George Washington Colonials at St. John Arena at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Land-Grant Holy Land will have all of your NCAA Tournament coverage for both teams on Saturday, both on the site and on Twitter @Landgrant33.