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Iona Gaels vs. Ohio St. Buckeyes NCAA Basketball Preview & Free Pick

WEST Region: Gaels vs. Buckeyes

The Iona Gaels are in the NCAA Tournament for a second straight year. They are hoping to get rid of the bad taste in their mouths left from last year’s loss to BYU (they led by more than 20 points).

2013 NCAA Tournament Preview
West Region
#15- Iona Gaels (20-13) vs. #2- Ohio State Buckeyes (26-7)
Date/Time: March 21, 2013- 7:15 pm EST
TV: CBS
NCAA Basketball Betting Odds from DSI
Favorite: Ohio State -14
Total: 144.5

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The good news for Iona is they get another shot in the Big Dance, the bad news is they must play against an Ohio State team that has gotten much better in the last few weeks of the season.

How will this one play out?

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Iona

Iona went to Dayton last year and was in complete control against BYU before losing it in a big way. The Gaels were actually ahead by 25 points in that game before losing 78-72. Iona shot just 24 percent in the second half and scored only 17 points. They had scored 55 points in the first half. No doubt that was a tough one to swallow.

Several members from last year’s team graduated, but some key players are back and looking to make their mark on this year’s tournament.

Lamont (Momo) Jones leads Iona in scoring at 23.2 points per game. That total makes him the third-leading scorer in the country. Jones will have a major test in this one, as the Buckeyes best defender Aaron Craft will be on Jones throughout this game. Jones will have to have a big game if Iona is going to win.

Iona averages 80.7 points per game, which is second most in the nation.

On the other side, the Gaels allow 75.8 points per game, which is one of the worst marks in the country. [ad-6571516]

Ohio State

If you go back to the middle of February a lot of people were questioning the Ohio State Buckeyes. Ohio State had just lost 71-49 in Wisconsin, and many wondered if this year’s team might play its way on to the bubble with a very tough schedule ahead of them. Instead, Thad Matta’s team turned their season around in a big way. Ohio State went to Bloomington and beat the Hoosiers on Senior Day.

They knocked off Michigan State twice and got redemption against Wisconsin in the Big Ten Tournament finale. Ohio State was won eight straight games.

The Buckeyes are led by point guard Aaron Craft. He is the team’s second leading scorer at 9.9 points per game, but he is the heart and soul of this team.

There isn’t a better on the ball defender than Craft in the country. He also has 152 assists compared to just 62 turnovers this year. Deshaun Thomas leads the Buckeyes in scoring at 19.5 points per game. Thomas can score from anywhere on the floor. He is 6’7 with long arms, and he can score down low or shoot the three ball.

The Buckeyes season really turned around when the team picked it up on the defensive end. Ohio State is holding opponents to just 57.9 points per game this year.

Free Pick: Over 144.5

Iona hasn’t guarded anyone all year, and Ohio State is capable of scoring in bunches.

Look for this one to be higher scoring than most people expect. Ohio State should move on.

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