Three things to know about Gonzaga, Ohio State's next NCAA tournament opponent

The Buckeyes, who face Gonzaga in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament on Saturday night, showed an inside look at what life is like at their home away from home this week. The last couple they tried, both by Kam Williams, helped push Ohio State into the round of 32. The past two seasons, they fell in the Sweet 16 round. Their play was not ideal, and they did not look like the No. 8 team in the country. Meanwhile GU's zone defense contributed to a rough shooting night for Ohio State.

Gonzaga takes on a Buckeyes squad they beat by 27 Thanksgiving week in the PK80 Invitational in Portland. "As long as we make the shots tough for him, that's the plan, to make life hard on him". We have a lot of experience. "They went zone a lot and shaded my zone".

Back then, Jae'Sean Tate said the Buckeyes were still "trying to find ourselves" in the first meeting. "We know how to win now". It wasn't an inspiring performance, but the same could have been said of Gonzaga's run in 2017.

Gonzaga is 22nd in the nation with 10.9 assists allowed per game while Ohio State is 57th with 11.8 assists allowed per game.

"Fortunately", Holtmann said, "we hit our stride at the right time with this group".

Gonzaga shut down the Buckeyes and Big Ten player of the year Keita Bates-Diop in November. "Sometimes when we travel they think we are Belmont from NY", guard Sierra Jones said. It was a mismatch in every way.

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"I thought she did a really good job putting other people in a position to score", McGuff said. While Gonzaga had a scare on Thursday, I think the Bulldogs are the better team today. I think our kids are focused.

It's an elite team that is hoping to return to the Sweet 16, the Final Four and NCAA championship game, where it finished a year ago in a loss to North Carolina.

"It's going to be a fight, for sure", said Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins. Corey (Kispert) has improved, roles have changed. "Guys are more comfortable in their spots".

Few said he expects the game to be physical. Not only do the Bulls have to go back to the Tallahassee Region, but they got put in the same region as UConn, who they lost to three times this season.

The game got out of hand for the Colonials from there as they missed eight straight shots in a stretch of the third period. The Ohio State University Buckeyes withstood a valiant effort from the Jackrabbits to win 81-73 in Boise, Idaho.

  • Sonia Alvarado