Ohio State takes on the No. 12 seed South Dakota State Jackrabbits on Thursday to get things rolling in the NCAA tournament. As a team, South Dakota State is scoring the 6th-most points per game in the country at 84.9 per game on 47% shooting from the field, 40.3% from behind the 3-point line and 76% from the foul line this season.
South Dakota State, led by second-year head coach T.J. Otzelberger, won the Summit League regular-season and tournament championships and enter the NCAA Tournament with a 28-6 record.
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The Ohio State Buckeyes (24-8) are coming from a 69-68 loss to Penn State in the early round of Big Ten Tournament. Defensively, Ohio State yields 66.7 points per game against the opposing teams. Villanova was previously a No. 8 seed when it last made the tournament five seasons ago.
Top-ranked Virginia has received the first overall seed in the tournament, which begins with "play-in" games Tuesday in Dayton. Three other players, senior forward Jae'Sean Tate (13 points per game), junior guard CJ Jackson (12 points per game), and freshman forward Kaleb Wesson (11 points per game), average in double figures. He also led the Buckeyes in scoring, averaging 19 points per game. In their 10 previous appearances in the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats have tallied a 7-10 record.
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First and second round games are March 15 and 16.
The team's first-round game will be against No. 14-seeded George Washington in the Spokane Region at 1:30 p.m. on March 17 in Columbus, Ohio.
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Being the fifth seed in the west, Ohio State and their fans should be cautious as their game versus 12th seed South Dakota State should be on upset alert.