For the Buckeyes, it was all about the big men.
It usually is for second-seeded Ohio State. They got 24 points from Deshaun Thomas and another 20 points from Sam Thompson as the Buckeyes simply overpowered 15-seed Iona in a 95-70 second-round win in Dayton, Ohio.
Land Grant Holy Land, SB Nation's Buckeyes blog, felt, as many do, the win wasn't a surprise but the aerial display of athleticism Ohio State put on was impressive all the same. There was some slight concern early, but the Buckeyes played back to form.
When all-intents-and-purposes Ohio State sixth man Shannon Scott was on the sideline, the Buckeyes often failed to assume the role. With Scott out, Iona rallied back to make things uncomfortable for the Bucks, and keep those that watched Harvard defeat New Mexico wondering about a potential "West Region curse". But with Scott's double digit assists back in the mix, Ohio State often resembled the Final Four team many experts have them pegged to be.
The Buckeyes led, 53-43, at halftime, but turned it on in the second half. This was the result of Ohio State's powerful offense, but its defense locked down premier scoring threat MoMo Jones:
MoMo Jones entered the contest as the nation's third leading scorer and had spoken pridefully that Craft and Shannon Scott alike wouldn't be problematic for he and his teammates. He finished the game 3-for-14 with just 9 points. Craft meanwhile would punctuate the lackluster looks for Jones with what felt like steal-after-steal at times. Scott's presence was undeniable too as his 7 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds were critical to the run of play for the Bucks.
The Buckeyes will take on the Iowa State Cyclones in the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. ET on Sunday in Dayton, Ohio.