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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