NCAA Tournament Predictions: 2. Ohio State vs. 15. Iona

Deshaun Thomas/AP

Deshaun Thomas/AP

 Ohio State (26-7, 13-5)-The Buckeyes are a legitimate Final Four threat in the South bracket, which figures to be the least challenging of the four through which to navigate. Ohio State has a terrific point guard in Aaron Craft, who is one of the best defensive guards in the country and can lock down anyone in the opposing backcourt. The Buckeyes also boast a pro in small forward Deshaun Thomas, who was quietly one of the best players in the Big Ten this season.

Thomas came alive last year during Ohio State’s run to the Final Four, and could carry the Bucks back there this year. He averages 19.5 points per game. The Buckeyes don’t have  a ton of scoring depth, but they have gritty defenders like Evan Ravenel and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. LaQuinton Ross is inconsistent but clearly has the talent to become a big-time star in college.


15th Points Allowed (57.9)

18th Assists Against (10.0)

39th Field Goal Percentage Defense (39.5)


Guard Lamont Jones (Icon SMI)

Guard Lamont Jones (Icon SMI)

 15. Iona (20-13, 11-7 MAAC)-The Gaels are an up-tempo, high-scoring bunch that loves to outrun opponents. They are led by Arizona transfer and nation’s third leading scorer Lamont “Momo” Jones, who averages 23.3 points per game. Iona isn’t very big (their tallest player is 6-8), but they’ve got a ton of speed and capable guards who can score at will. 6-4 junior Sean Armand averages 16.6 points and 5.1 boards per game, and is a terrific shooter. Iona also shares the ball very well, ranking 24th in the nation in assists per game.

They underachieved and finished fourth in the MAAC in the regular season this year, but knocked out top-seeded Niagara in the conference tournament. Last year, Iona earned an at-large bid and dominated BYU in the first half of a First Four matchup in Dayton before allowing the Cougars to come all the way back and win. This team isn’t as good as last year’s. They probably don’t have enough to win a first-round game, but there’s plenty of potential for the Gaels to provide the Buckeyes a scare.


 3rd Points Per Game (80.7)

24th Assists Per Game (15.5)




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