I think the 98-66 victory tells you all you need to know about the Buckeye’s second round matchup. With that said, let’s look at how we got here. George Mason is not a bad team, and OSU flat out dominated them. A lot of things had to go right today to win by more than 30 points.
Playing in Cleveland proved to be a HUGE advantage for OSU. Cleveland native David Lighty was on fire, and scored 25 points (including going 7-7 from beyond the arc). Having the home crowd to pull for OSU was huge, and the arena even had the traveling “O-H-I-O” going during stoppages. Newark isn’t going to feel quite like Cleveland, especially if OSU finds themselves in an elite eight matchup with Newark hometown favorite Syracuse.
The Three Ball
When OSU makes their three pointers, nobody in the country can beat them. The Buckeyes shot a staggering 61.5% from the land of plenty, going 16-26. Diebler, Buford, and Lighty were responsible for 15 of those buckets, so the usual suspects are staying hot at just the right time.
Aaron Craft saw significant minutes today, and he distributed the ball masterfully. Craft had an eye-popping 15 assists and just two turnovers. Let’s say that again – Craft had 15 assists and two turnoves. That’s fantastic from the gritty freshman.
Free Throw Woes
If there’s one negative to pull from this game, it’s the continued woes from the free throw line for the Buckeyes. OSU went 10-18, just 55%. That will work against George Mason, but could cost OSU against a better team down the line.
All year, we’ve been hearing how there isn’t a clear #1 team. We’ve heard how college basketball just doesn’t have a dominant team. Are we sure OSU isn’t that team? Today’s result is the latest evidence that OSU is far and away the top team in the country. OSU has two losses this year. Both losses were on the road, to top 15 teams, when a future NBA player had the game of his career on the opposing side. OSU has a solid inside game, a solid outside game, and a couple of slashers who can get the ball to the rim. OSU can go big (with Dallas Lauderdale and Jared Sullinger in together) or small (subbing Craft in for Lauderdale). They can play fast, get out and run, or play the half court set. Just food for thought.
This article originally appeared on LandLoyalty.com