Free NCAA Tournament Picks for Dayton vs. Ohio State

David Lawrence

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 2:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 19, 2014 2:34 PM UTC

The Dayton Flyers are little brother in the state of Ohio. Meanwhile, the Ohio State Buckeyes are in the role of big brother. Dayton gets its chance to win some bragging rights, improve its visibility in its own backyard, and increase the NCAA Tournament betting odds of better hauls on the recruiting trail. Ohio State's trying to get to the Final Four.

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While the Buckeyes expect to make a deep run in this year's Tournament, this game might actually mean even more to Dayton than it does for Ohio State. This sounds confusing and perplexing, but it's simply an attempt to say that while Ohio State plays for championships, Dayton is playing for something that's even more personal and important.


The Flyers can win because…
The Dayton Flyers just barely got into the NCAA tournament, making the main event for the first time since 2009. That's a very precious thing for Dayton, but what's even more precious is the chance to play Ohio State, the massive institution that does not feel the need to play Dayton during the regular season. This is a chance for Dayton to prove itself within its home state, to show Ohio State and Ohioans what it is made of. The Flyers could really improve themselves as a program with a win here. They could benefit a lot in terms of recruiting and reputation with a win here. There are other examples across the country of rivalries that are put on hold because one of the schools doesn't want to play the other or does something to change the nature of the rivalry. The Kansas-Missouri rivalry is a current example; it has gone away because of Missouri's move from the Big 12 to the SEC. In previous decades, the Kentucky-Louisville rivalry did not happen because Kentucky, the bigger school, did not want to stoop down and go out of its way to schedule Louisville. 

Dayton knows how rare this event really is, so the Flyers are going to be very energized and should bring their best effort to Buffalo, N.Y., where this game will be played. This is a very good reason to pick the Flyers.

The Buckeyes can win because…
Ohio State head coach Thad Matta is one of the better coaches in all of college basketball. He has the ability to get the attention of his team late in a season, even when it is not playing well. Ohio State looked like a team that was going to struggle in January of this season, but it really improved in February and finished with a decent seed (number six), whereas fellow Big Ten school Iowa dropped all the way to a number 11 seed. Ohio State was also struggling early in February of last season, but the Buckeyes rallied behind Matta's leadership and managed to get to the West Regional final. Ohio State knows how to circle the wagons. This team plays excellent defense and should be ready to contain Dayton at every turn in this game.

Ohio State might not score a lot, but it can really make things hard for the Flyers when Dayton has the ball. The presence of point guard and defensive stopper Aaron Craft on the court is Ohio State's really big advantage in this game. The man-to-man pressure of Craft will really limit Dayton's ability to move the ball and space the court. The Flyers might realize that they won't be able to function as freely as they've been able to in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Ohio State's defense is going to be a different and more challenging look for Dayton. It's doubtful that the Flyers will be able to handle what Ohio State has in store for them, so take the Buckeyes with your NCAA basketball picks.

NCAA Tournament Betting 2014: Ways to Wager

Outlook & Pick
Ohio State should be able to defend and rebound at a level that will be sufficient. Dayton will make a few runs, but Ohio State will control the final several minutes and cover the NCAA basketball odds.

NCAA Tournament Pick: Ohio State -6 at Ladbrokes

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