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Men’s Basketball: Ohio State takes on Houston for chance at first Sweet 16 since 2013

Head coach Chris Holtmann talks to the Buckeyes during a timeout in the second half of the game against Michigan State at the Big Ten tournament on Mar. 14 in Chicago. Ohio State lost 77-70. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has never lost in the Round of 64. Because of the Buckeyes’ 62-59 win against No. 6 Iowa State on Friday, that remains true, remaining 5-0 in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

But to move into the Sweet 16, the Buckeyes will have to go through No. 3 Houston for an attempt at its first Round of 32 win since 2013, something Holtmann has a less successful history in. In the four previous times Holtmann has led a team into the Round of 32, his teams have went 1-3.

Projected Starters

No. 11 Ohio State (20-14)

G — C.J. Jackson — Senior, 11.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.1 apg

G — Keyshawn Woods — Redshirt senior, 8.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.4 apg

G — Musa Jallow — Sophomore, 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 0.7 apg

F — Andre Wesson — Junior, 8.7 rpg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 apg

F — Kaleb Wesson — Sophomore, 14.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.8 apg

No. 3 Houston (32-3)

G — Corey Davis — Senior, 16.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.8 apg

G — Galen Robinson — Senior, 7.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.9 apg

G — Armoni Brooks — Junior, 13.3 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 0.9 apg

F — Braeon Brady — Senior, 6.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.5 apg

F — Fabian White —Sophomore, 6.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.7 apg

The Cougars come in winners of 32 of their 35 games this year, most recently defeating No. 14 Georgia State 84-55.

Houston held the Panthers to 30 percent shooting while getting 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists from senior guard Corey Davis.

Davis is the Cougars’ leading scorer, averaging 16.9 points per game, shooting 38.2 percent from 3 and a team-high 86.7 percent from the free-throw line.

While Houston averages 77.8 points per game, No. 2 in the American Athletic Conference, its strength is on the defensive end.

The Cougars allow 61.1 points per game, seventh-least in the NCAA, forcing opponents to 36.5 percent shooting from the field, the lowest in the nation.

Teams shoot an NCAA-low 27.5 percent from 3 against Houston on the season.

Another strength for Houston is on the boards, with its 1,442 rebounds ranking No. 3 in the NCAA.

Against Georgia State, the Cougars outrebounded the Panthers 51-27.

The rebounds come from a variety of pieces on the roster, with eight Houston players averaging two rebounds or more.

According to KenPom, Houston ranks as the No. 12 team in the country, ranking No. 22 in offensive efficiency and No. 12 in defensive efficiency.

The Buckeyes are No. 41 on KenPom, and are given a 32 percent chance to win on the analytics website.

No. 11 Ohio State takes on No. 3 Houston in Tulsa, Oklahoma at 8:40 p.m. Sunday.

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