Ohio State’s victory over Duke in the NCAA tournament is a reminder that sports can be unpredictable and even exciting when you have no idea what will happen next. The game had already been decided by halftime, but it was still suspenseful until the final buzzer sounded to confirm Ohio State’s win.
The “ohio state vs duke 2021” is a match that was expected to be one of the best games of the year. Ohio State beat Duke in a close game.
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The reign of the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils as the uncontested team to beat in collegiate basketball was short-lived. Despite dominating for most of the game, the Blue Devils were defeated 71-66 by the unranked Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio, resetting the national discourse and paving the way for the Purdue Boilermakers or another team to reclaim the top spot next Monday.
Duke led 43-30 at halftime, increased their lead to 15 points in the second half, and enjoyed a comfortable 66-59 lead with 4:29 remaining after a made Trevor Keels free throw. There would be no more points for the Blue Devils. Chris Holtmann’s OSU team went on a 12-0 run to seal the victory, with 6 points from Cedric Russell (12 points) and 4 points from E.J. Liddell (14 points) in the final minutes. For the Buckeyes, Zed Key scored a career-high 20 points.
Myron Medcalf, Jeff Borzello, John Gasaway, and Joe Lunardi of ESPN weighed in on what they witnessed, the road ahead for Duke and Ohio State, and the ramifications of the Buckeyes’ victory for Bracketology and national rankings.
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This is still a squad that defeated Gonzaga and, of course, one that can win it all in April. Any offensive led by Banchero, Moore, and Mark Williams is unlikely to have such a poor success percentage on second downs. Even yet, after eight games, we can at least speculate on whether or not perimeter shooting will be a problem for this team. Duke has made just 32.7 percent of its three-point attempts this season. Mike Krzyzewski’s players will have less room to operate on the inside if the Blue Devils can’t get open looks from the perimeter. It’s absolutely worth keeping an eye on.
— Mr. Gasaway
On the following possession, Zed Key shakes the rim with a two-handed flush, and Mark Williams responds with one of his own.
Was this a one-game fluke for Ohio State, or will the Buckeyes have a national impact?
If it’s an aberration, it’ll be a half-aberration since they weren’t very excellent in the opening 20 minutes. In the first half, the Buckeyes made a flurry of self-inflicted errors, such as turning the ball over too often and missing free throws. Their defense tightened up in the second half, and they started to have a lot of success running the ball through their frontcourt and allowing Zed Key to operate one-on-one in the post with lots of room. And I believe that is their, um, essential going ahead. On Tuesday night, he went on a clinic at the post, regularly obtaining terrific position and finishing over Mark Williams and Theo John’s length. However, his 20 points versus Duke were more than he had scored in his previous three games put together. Moving ahead, he must be consistent.
Aside from Key, the perimeter group will be another area to keep an eye on. This season, Ohio State has struggled to find consistent point guard and backcourt performance, but Chris Holtmann may have found a way to stretch defenses on Tuesday. Cedric Russell, who was an all-conference player at Louisiana last season, hit 40% from 3-point shooting in 2020-21 but has only played 23 minutes this season. He scored 12 points and made three three-pointers in 16 minutes off the bench on Tuesday.
E.J. Liddell is an All-American contender, and he demonstrated on Tuesday that he can have an influence on a game even when he isn’t scoring a lot of points. He finished with 14 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists, including a game-winning three-pointer in the last minute. For the Buckeyes, Liddell will be a constant.
One thing to keep in mind is that Ohio State is without Justice Sueing and Seth Towns. Sueing, who led the team in scoring last season with 10.7 points per game, is out indefinitely with an abdominal ailment, while Towns is out after back surgery. Sueing, in particular, will provide another constant attacking threat for Holtmann, as well as someone who can create offense for others.
While Holtmann is still sorting out his best lineups and waiting for injured players to return, Columbus has enough talent on the roster to be a top-25 club all season.
Purdue’s Trevion Williams has his eyes on the back of his head, and a silky no-look pass finds a cutting Mason Gillis.
Is this to say that No. 2 Purdue, who thrashed Florida State on Tuesday, is the national team to beat?
If the Boilermakers defeat Iowa on Friday, they will clinch the No. 1 spot in the polls. Through November, Purdue has been the most consistently impressive team in the nation — Matt Painter has a little bit of everything. The most formidable post tandem in the country, Zach Edey and Trevion Williams, and the way Williams has embraced shifting to the bench after being regarded as a preseason All-American candidate, exemplifies how connected and cohesive the Boilermakers are this season. With the ball in his hands, Jaden Ivey is a game-changer, and he’s becoming more aggressive as a playmaker. Painter has surrounded those three stars with talented shooters and supporting cast members. They can score in the paint with ease, shoot better than 44% from beyond the arc, and distribute the ball very effectively. There’s a reason it’s the most effective offensive in the nation. Purdue has had a handful of bad defensive streaks, but they’ve been able to lock down when it counts.
The Boilermakers also have the victories to back up what our eyes and analytics are telling us. They defeated Villanova in Connecticut, drew away from North Carolina late in the game, then thrashed Florida State on Tuesday.
What are the consequences of Bracketology for Duke? For the Buckeyes?
Despite forfeiting its Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Ohio State, Duke maintains a No. 1 seed on our board. By March, the “how” will be less important than the “what.” In other words, a Quad 1 road defeat would not be enough to knock the Blue Devils out of the top spot. For the time being, we’d rearrange the top line as follows: Purdue (Midwest), Baylor (South), Duke (East), and Gonzaga (West) (West). UCLA is still in the lead.
In terms of seed list standing, Ohio State, on the other hand, is a clear winner. The Buckeyes were ranked No. 27 in the country before into this matchup (a No. 7 seed in Bracketology). The victory will boost them at least a half-dozen positions, putting them in the No. 20-21 area overall. By the time we update everything on Friday, that’s a complete seed in the bracket, and perhaps more. It’s the ideal method for Ohio State to prepare for its Big Ten opening against Penn State on Sunday.
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Ohio State defeats No. 1 Duke in the final game of the season, securing a spot in the Final Four. The team will play against Michigan State for their final game on March 31st and tickets are available now. Reference: ohio state vs duke 2021 tickets.
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