Games can be unpredictable this time of year, after all this is why it’s called “March Madness.” The one exception has been the 1-16 matchup. As a matter of fact, the one seeds were a perfect 104-0 heading into the 2011 NCAA tournament. After Pittsburgh and Duke won by 23 and 32, respectively, Ohio State continued the streak by beating No. 16 seed UT-San Antonio 75-46.
By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta
This was a classic 1 verse 16 seed game. Ohio State just had too much talent for UT-San Antonio to ever have a chance.
“Wow,” said UTSA coach Brooks Thompson. “They’re good.”
Part of what makes Ohio State so “good” is William Buford. Friday, the junior guard hit three 3s and put his mark on the box score in seemingly every category. He finished the game with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
Jared Sullinger, the Buckeye’s phenom freshman, made his first ever appearance in a NCAA tournament game against UT-San Antonio. The big guy finished with a near double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine rebounds. While it was a solid performance, it broke a three game streak of reaching the double-double mark for Sullinger.
While it may not have showed in the box score, Sullinger was dominant when he had the ball.
“Sullinger, our guys were just bouncing off him,” Thompson said. “It was pretty comical.”
In an attempt to keep the ball out of the Buckeyes’ offensive weapons, the Roadrunners slowed the game down, way down.
“We had to shorten the game as much as we could,” Thompson said. “We were going to try and do that for the entire game.”
However, UT-San Antonio was only able to slow the pace for so long. After the game was close for the first eight minutes, the game opened up and in turn led to a more loosely called game. As a matter of fact, Sullinger, who averages over seven free throws per game, only attempted two free throws against UT-San Antonio. However, Sullinger prefers this style of play.
“It’s (the style in March) more how I play, knowing that the ref is letting a lot slide this time of year really helps me out,” Sullinger said. “I like to be physical and be able to bang and grind it out”
The Buckeyes next opponent is against No. 8 seed George Mason, who beat No. 8 seed Villanova 61-57. The win has many people reminiscing the run the 2006 team made.
While Friday was a breeze for Ohio State, their next game against the Patriots will be much tougher. This doesn’t worry Sullinger.
“it’s win and advance, no matter how ugly it is, no matter how brutal it is, as long as you win you win, whether it’s one, two or 20 points,” Sullinger said.
Justin Mertes-Mistretta is a senior writer for TheSportsBank.net. Follow him on Twitter at MertesMist_tsb or read his blog here.Follow paulmbanks