WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana (WCMH) — The first round of the NCAA Tournament is here, which means it’s time for Ohio State to play a team you’ve never watched this season.

The No. 2 Buckeyes will face No. 15 Oral Roberts at 3 p.m. Friday.

Ohio State is coming off an impressive run in the Big Ten tournament, which ended with it losing 91-88 in overtime of the title game against Illinois.

But the Buckeyes’ tournament wins over Purdue and Michigan to reach the championship game provided much-needed momentum after they lost four games in a row to end the regular season.

The Buckeyes have been ranked all season and played on national television several times. Oral Roberts has not. So, NBC4 has put together a full scouting report to get Buckeyes fans familiar with the Golden Eagles about what they do well and what they’re weaknesses are.

Take it to the Max (Abmas)

Max Abmas. You’ve probably never heard of him before now (neither had I), but Chris Holtmann and his staff know his name and what he can do. Abmas leads the country in points per game (24.2) and not coincidentally also has the most made three-point shots (90). He only stands 6 feet 1, so putting a taller player like 6-6 Musa Jallow or 6-5 Justin Ahrens might be able to throw him off his game.

Golden Eagles live and die by the 3

Oral Roberts leads the country in three-pointers per game (11.3) and shoots 39% from the behind the arc, good enough for eighth best in the nation. They attempt the ninth-most threes of any team and will rely on that against OSU.

Attack the glass

The Golden Eagles will make their long range shots, so Ohio State must focus on dominating them in the lane. Oral Roberts’ rebound margin of minus-3 is one of the worst in the country (288th) and is an area the Buckeyes can easily exploit. Because Oral Roberts relies on the three, they rank 73rd in offensive efficiency compared with the Buckeyes, who boast the fourth-most efficient offense. Ohio State can simply outscore the Golden Eagles even if they’re able to make they’re average of 11 threes.

None shall pass

The Golden Eagles are a big proponent of dribbling and taking the first available shot, which can be seen in the number of threes they shoot. Oral Roberts doesn’t get its three-point chances by moving the basketball because they rank 213th in the country in assists per game. If Ohio State can force them to move the basketball, they inevitably force turnovers from a team not used to passing as much as other teams.


It’s still unclear whether Kyle Young will be able to play in the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament. The senior suffered a concussion in the second half of Ohio State’s overtime win against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, his second concussion in three weeks.