Ohio State, Gonzaga in rematch
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — No. 4 seed Gonzaga (31-4) vs. No. 5 Ohio State (25-8)
Second round, West Region; Boise, Idaho, Saturday, approximately 8:15 p.m. ET.
BOTTOM LINE: A rematch of a game played in the PK80 Invitational in November. The Zags won in a runaway, shooting 59 percent to beat the Buckeyes 86-59. Ohio State bounced back from that loss to finish tied for second in the Big Ten and is a different team from four months ago, so this one could be much closer.
STOPPING BATES-DIOP: Gonzaga was one of the few teams to slow Keita Bates-Diop, holding Ohio State’s leading scorer to seven points on 2-of-7 shooting. Bates-Diop has scored in double figures in every game except one (Rutgers) since and was named the Big Ten player of the year. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds in Ohio State’s opening NCAA Tournament win against South Dakota State. “We prepared heavily for him last time, as we should have,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “He’s a fabulous player.”
CONFIDENT NORVELL: Gonzaga freshman Zach Norvell Jr. does not play like a freshman. The 6-foot-5 guard from Chicago has a confidence usually seen in upperclassmen, fearlessly firing up shots and driving to the rim.
He averages 12.3 points per game on 46 percent shooting and had the biggest shot of the Zags’ opening NCAA win over UNC-Greensboro, hitting the go-ahead 3-pointer with 20.8 seconds left.
DID YOU KNOW: Gonzaga is one of two teams (with Kansas) to win its opening round NCAA Tournament game in 10 straight seasons after knocking off UNC-Greensboro.