NCAA Tournament: Ohio State Sends A Message, Blows Out George Mason, 98-66

Ohio State sent a message that they are the favorite, routing George Mason, 98-66.

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NCAA Bracket Update: Ohio State Sends Message In Dominating Win Over George Mason

Ohio State had a point to prove, and they proved it emphatically. One day after the first No. 1 seed (Pittsburgh) lost in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, the overall No. 1 seeded Buckeyes showed they are the favorite to cut down the nets at the Final Four, routing No. 8 seed George Mason, 98-56, to advance to the Sweet 16 o the NCAA bracket.

The Patriots raced off to an 11-2 start to begin this game, which should give you some idea of how dominating Ohio State was beyond that. The Buckeyes couldn't miss from downtown, hitting 16-26 from three-point range in the win. David Lighty led the way with 25 points, including a 7-7 performance from behind the three-point line. Jared Sullinger added 18 points and eight rebounds as well.

The Buckeyes will now face Kentucky, in a showcase of some of the nation's top freshmen. The Patriots will head home and will not duplicate their miracle 2006 run. 

Here is an updated look at the East Region of the 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket.

THIRD ROUND

No. 1 Ohio State def. No. 8 George Mason; will face Kentucky

No. 4 Kentucky def. No. 5 West Virginia; will face Ohio State

No. 3 Syracuse vs. No. 11 Marquette, Sunday

No. 2 North Carolina def. No. 7 Washington; will face Syracuse/Marquette winner

For more, Ohio State fans should head over to Along The Olentangy, while George Mason fans should check out SB Nation D.C.

Other March Madness resources: Our updated printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket and the full March Madness schedule.

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NCAA Tournament Scores: Ohio State Dominating George Mason At Halftime

George Mason began its 2011 NCAA Tournament third-round game against No. 1 seed Ohio State with an 11-2 run. Ohio State has dominated since like few teams possibly can. The Buckeyes closed the half on an incredible 50-15 run and lead 52-26 at halftime.

The shorthanded Patriots, playing without starting forward Luke Hancock, shocked Ohio State by scoring 11 of the first 13 points in the early going. But the Patriots' limitations caught up to them, and the Buckeyes stopped missing shots. Ohio State is shooting 63 percent from the field and have only missed three of their nine three-pointers. David Lighty leads the way with 17 points on 5-5 from three-point range. Jared Sullinger had 13 points and seven rebounds as Ohio State sent a message to the rest of the teams in the field.

George Mason went over eight minutes without a field goal and clearly miss Hancock's ability to create offense. Ryan Pearson has nine points to lead the Patriots, but it looks like their banner season will soon come to an end. 

For more on this game, Ohio State fans should head to Along The Olentangy, and George Mason fans should join SB Nation D.C..

Other March Madness resources: Our updated printable 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket... the full March Madness schedule.

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Luke Hancock Sick, May Not Play For George Mason Vs. Ohio State

The George Mason Patriots have received some very bad news in their quest to shock No. 1 seeded Ohio State in the East Region of the NCAA bracket. Forward Luke Hancock, who put the Patriots into the third round of the NCAA Tournament with a game-winning three-pointer against No. 9 Villanova on Friday, has the flu and may not play in the game, according to Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times.

Hancock is still at the team hotel as of 4:50 p.m., and he has already been replaced in the starting lineup by Isaiah Tate. He is trying to come to the arena and play at some point, but as of now, that looks "unlikely," according to NBC's Lindsay Czarniak.

The loss of Hancock is a huge one for the Patriots. The forward is third on the team in scoring and leads the club in assists despite being a forward. His ability to facilitate provides major matchup problems for teams trying to stop George Mason. Without him, defeating Jared Sullinger and Buckeyes in Cleveland became that much taller of an order.

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NCAA Bracket 2011: No. 1 Ohio State Vs. No. 8 George Mason

The 2011 NCAA Tournament Bracket is fully advanced to Third Round matchups now, and the Ohio State vs. George Mason game that tops the East Region is probably the most interesting showdown on Sunday. And that makes it a highlight of the Third Round on the 2011 NCAA Tournament schedule: Ohio State vs. George Mason will be broadcast at 5:15 p.m. Eastern on CBS on Sunday, and Gus Johnson and Len Elmore will have the call.

The Buckeyes barely broke a sweat in their Second Round opener as the No. 1 overall seed. Ohio State breezed by Texas-San Antonio, scoring a 75-46 win by shooting 55.8% from the field and 50% from three. Ball movement was key to the Ohio State attack, with the Buckeyes getting assists on an absurd 26 of their 29 made field goals, and if that sort of thing happens against George Mason, there's no way the Colonial Athletic Association's Cinderella squad is dancing after Sunday.

The Patriots began their attempt to recapture the magic of the 2006 team's Final Four run with a dramatic Second Round win over Villanova, but certainly have the horses to put at least a scare into Ohio State. The recruits Jim Larranaga was able to pull after that Final Four run have now become the spine of this squad: Cam Long, Ryan Pearson, Luke Hancock, and Andre Cornelius can all light it up from deep, while Mike Morrison provides athletic defense and effective offense down low. The Buckeyes are better by nearly every stretch, but not that much better — and if Mason's threes fall, watch out.

Star Watch: Jared Sullinger was relatively quiet for Ohio State in the Second Round (11 points, nine rebounds) but he should be a mismatch no matter who George Mason deploys to defend him. If Sullinger's bulk and footwork trump Morrison's better bounce, the Buckeyes will cruise to the Sweet Sixteen.

Prediction: George Mason leads early, then struggles futilely to stop an inside-out assault keyed by Sullinger and Jon Diebler, losing to Ohio State 81-72.

More Reading: SB Nation's Ohio State blog Along The Olentangy has tons more on the Buckeyes, while our George Mason coverage can be found at SB Nation DC.

Need help picking your bracket? Check out SB Nation's full 2011 NCAA Tournament bracket predictions, picking every game of March Madness, or our region by region breakdowns for the East Region, West Region, Southeast Region, and Southwest Region.

Did your team miss the 2011 NCAA Tournament? We have you covered: check out the 2011 NIT bracket.

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