Ohio State basketball 2021 Why was upset in the first round of the NCAA .

Ohio State basketball 2021 Why was  upset in the first round of the NCAA .
Oral Roberts, oral roberts university, Ohio State

Ohio State basketball 2021 Why was upset in the first round of the NCAA .

Ohio State basketball Ohio State basketball … the round was the NCAA Why first in of upset

Fri, 19 Mar 2021 13:00:00 -0700



— So what led to Ohio State heading home Friday night after an abrupt dismissal from the NCAA tournament by Oral Roberts?

Zed Key (23) and Duane Washington Jr.

leave the court after Friday's loss to Oral Roberts in the first round game NCAA's South Regional in West Lafayette, Indiana.Getty Images


— So what led to Ohio State heading home Friday night after an abrupt dismissal from the NCAA tournament by Oral Roberts?

There were season-long issues that were never fixed, even in wins.

There were specific problems that erupted Friday that were more uncharacteristic, but sunk the Buckeyes in the 75-72 overtime loss.

OSU deserved to lose, regardless of its widely-acknowledged superior talent.

It spent almost 25 minutes playing from behind, turned the ball over at an alarming rate (tying a season-high of 16) and struggled to score efficiently.

The Golden Eagles weren’t much better, but made plays when it mattered most.

“We all have to be responsible for not quite getting it done, and it begins with me first and foremost,” head coach Chris Holtmann said.

“Obviously, you’re a two-seed for a reason.

That means you’ve put in great work throughout the season.

You had a body of work that was really good.

There were some tremendous moments of the season.

By and large, it was a special year with a conclusion that is one that we’ve gotta lean into.”

Here are some specifics that will haunt the Buckeyes until next season.

Oral Roberts is a two-man band.

Max Abmas is the lead singer and guitarist, while Kevin Obanor is his drummer.

Everything goes through them.

They each played all 45 minutes and were responsible for 45 of the Golden Eagles’ 70 shots, including 22 of 35 three-point attempts.

That was a performance that had to be known days ago during pre-game research.

Abmas is leading the nation in scoring at 24.3 points per game, and Obanor added 18.2 points and 9.2 rebounds.

Shutting two players down, when a team has all forms of plays designed to get them the ball, isn’t reasonable to expect.

But you can make things difficult.

OSU didn’t do that.

It essentially allowed those two to combine for 59 points while no one else had more than six.

That’s a failure on the coaching staff.

Those two should’ve been the only two names on the scouting report when putting together a defensive gameplan.

Instead, they basically allowed two people to dictate a game.

Abmas consistently was able to handle the ball around the perimeter, occasionally diving to the basket.

Obanor had putbacks and was frequently an open relief valve if Abmas was pressured, standing at the top of the key for another 3-point attempt.

“Obviously, we gave them too many clean looks throughout the game,” Holtmann said.

“Both guys.

That’s ultimately my fault.

They’ve just had too many clean looks.”

Have we talked about this enough? It’s why the Buckeyes were on a four-game losing streak heading into the Big Ten Tournament.

It’s why every game leading up to the championship was an emotional roller coaster to get to the finish line.

Now it’s why their season is over.

“I think we had a couple of possessions there that we just had rushed plays,” Holtmann said.

Ohio State struggled all afternoon, but still held a 64-60 lead with 2:34 left in regulation following a free throw from Musa Jallow, a floater from Duane Washington Jr.

and a free throw from E.J.


But with the pressure on the Golden Eagles, the Buckeyes not only went scoreless, it didn’t even force ORU to make shots.

Fouls by Liddell, Jallow and Justin Ahrens all sent Ed Obanor to the free-throw line, where the game was tied and sent to overtime.

That’s not Minnesota having Marcus Carr get hot late, Purdue’s Trevion Williams finding a way to dominate in the post or Michigan scoring on 14 of its last 15 possessions.

It’s just simply having a lack of composure.

Turning the ball over 16 times against a team that ranked 246th in adjusted defensive efficiency is woeful.

Settling for threes and contested midrange jump shots instead of making it a point to allow Liddell — who finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and five assists — to consistently have his way in the post shows a lack of discipline and execution.

It’s also reflection on Liddell, who often panicked when double-teamed, resulting in his team-high five turnovers.

Washington’s offense has a certain love-hate quality.

When he’s on, he’s capable of putting up 30-point performances that keep OSU in any game.

But when it’s not there, it leads to inefficient 18-point nights on 7-of-21 shooting, 3-of-10 from three-point range.

The problem is one is never quite sure which version is going to show up.

More importantly, this coaching staff seemed uncertain how to fix things when it’s not a good day.

“Maybe he was pressing a little bit,” Holtmann said.

“This was their first real experience in the pressure of an NCAA Tournament game.

Maybe there’s some things I could have done better to relax him because I thought he played uncharacteristically, maybe a little too wound up.”

For much of the roster, this was their first taste of the NCAA Tournament.

Far too often, it showed.

Up four with less than three minutes to play, if you make free throws, you win the game.

The Buckeyes shot 76.3% during the regular season (32nd in the country).

But that number had been slipping for a few games now.

Ohio State made fewer than 70% of its free throws just eight times coming into the tournament.

But four came in the past six games.

Michigan rallied in the Big Ten semifinal because OSU shot just 57.1% from the line.

Friday, it missed nine of 18 attempts.

That included Jallow and Liddell going one of two in trips late in the second half, then Washington missing twice in overtime.

“We’ve got really good free-throw shooters,” Holtmann said.

“We’ve got a really good free-throw shooting team.

We just missed some critical ones.”

Friday, every free throw was a critical one.

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Ohio State basketball Ohio State basketball

Fri, 19 Mar 2021 13:00:00 -0700

As the 2021 NCAA Tournament kicks off, Ohio State was knocked off by Oral Roberts in the first round as March Madness ramps into high gear in Indiana


WEST LAFAYETTE – The message Paul Mills sent his players was simple.

“Don’t let anybody put a number in front of your name,” the Oral Roberts men’s basketball coach said.

Except this sport is all about putting numbers with names.

It starts when, as teenagers, recruiting sites associate players by rank or a star method to determine worth.

And it certainly happens in the NCAA tournament, where qualifying teams are seeded based on their regular season resume. 

So, regardless of what Mills told the Golden Eagles, they were a No.

15 seed and Ohio State was a No.

2 seed.

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Oral Roberts wasn’t supposed to win and that affiliated number said as much.

But Kevin Obanor didn’t care.

Max Abmas didn’t care. 

Those two combined for 59 points in Oral Roberts’ stunning 75-72 overtime upset of the Buckeyes at Mackey Arena Saturday afternoon. 

“I know growing up all my life, I was always the underdog,” said Obanor, who finished with 11 rebounds and 30 points, seven of those in overtime. 

Even after the Buckeyes took a 64-60 lead with two-and-a-half minutes to go in regulation, Oral Roberts remained confident.

Obanor made four free throws in the final 1:07 to force overtime. 

Maybe Mills is on to something with his no-number theory.

“We were very confident,” Obanor said.

“It’s really just a number at the end of the day.

We put our shoes on just as the other team puts their shoes on.

We have the mindset of, show us you deserve to be No.


Instances likes this stand the test of time.

They show up on the “One Shining Moment” montage at the tournament’s conclusion.

It was a monumental victory, Oral Roberts’ third NCAA tournament win in its history.

The other two came in 1974.

Oral Roberts’ men’s basketball program will be talked about annually now as that time the Golden Eagles shocked the mighty Buckeyes in the NCAA tournament.

Just ask Middle Tennessee, which stunned Michigan State in 2016.

Or Florida Gulf Coast’s “Dunk City” team of 2013 that upset Georgetown.

Or how about the time it happened twice in 2012 (Norfolk State over Missouri and Lehigh over Duke)? Before then it was 11 years since Hampton knocked Iowa State out in the first round.

Oral Roberts joins that list, along with Coppin State (1997), Santa Clara (1993) and Richmond (1991).

For good measure, throw in UMBC, the only No.

16 seed to win a game. 

So that’s 10 times since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64, and later 68, teams that something like this has happened.

“Any time you’re a 2 seed, that kind of speaks for itself,” Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said. “I thought our guys had a terrific season.

This is obviously a really, really bitter, bitter end to a terrific season, but we’ll own that and accept it, and we’ll move forward.”

So will Oral Roberts, to the second round to face Florida. 

“The reality is you have to turn around and you’re about to play another one,” Mills said.

“So a celebration better be pretty quick because, if you spend all your time looking back at your marriage day videos, you’re probably not going to have a very good marriage.

There’s other things to get done.”


– March 19, 2021
Oral Roberts, oral roberts university, Ohio State

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