Ohio State v. (5) Duke
In a brilliant finale to a bonkers day, Ohio State shellacked two-time defending champion Duke, 16-11. The Buckeyes, an at-large candidate to the NCAA Tournament field that only had its future determined on Selection Sunday, assaulted the Blue Devils on Duke's home field, earning the first postseason victory against Duke on the Devils' home field since 1995. David Planning was a devastating presence for Ohio State, generating seven points on six goals and one assist in the Brutus' dominant victory. Jack Bruckner had five points in a three-and-two effort to pace Duke. The loss snaps the Blue Devils' eight-year streak of participating in Championship Weekend.
Duke muscled its way to a 2-1 advantage after 15 minutes, but the next half hour would define the game. Ohio State outscored the Devils 12-4 in the second and third periods -- the push included seven consecutive tallies from the Buckeyes -- and raced out to a 13-6 advantage before the clock started on the final quarter. The Buckeyes played out of their collective mind in the middle two periods of the game, registering a dozen tallies on 24 estimated offensive opportunities, a rate that witnessed Ohio State cash in on halff their offensive possessions. Buoying the team through its defining run was a 54.55 percent shooting effort, one that elevated the Buckeyes to an insane level of efficiency that permitted Ohio State to swamp Duke. The Blue Devils, contrastingly, were without an answer to Brutus' charge, creating only nine shots and committing 11 turnovers en route to an offensive efficiency of about 20 percent, finding twine on just a handful of the team's 20 estimated offensive opportunities. This imbalance in competitiveness -- occurring in the context of an even estimated possession margin -- provided Ohio State with all the cushion necessary to crash the Devs out of the field prior to Memorial Day Weekend for the first time in almost a decade.
Duke was able to shrink its deficit in the fourth quarter -- the Blue Devils scored the last three goals in the game to mitigate a 16-8 hole with 4:25 remaining in regulation -- but the overall aesthetics of the contest leaned toward Ohio State taking a tire iron to Duke's face on a repeated and anger-fueled basis. The Buckeyes were the stronger team throughout the night, and that is somewhat surprising given that an advanced metrics analysis assigned only about a 35 percent chance of victory to Brutus. The win marks only the third victory for Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament, but there may not be a more notable triumph in the Buckeyes' record book.
|Estimated Possession Margin||+2 (43)||-2 (41)|
|Estimated Raw Offensive Efficiency||37.21||26.83|
|Raw Offensive Shooting Rate||47.06%||31.43%|
|Estimated Turnover Rate||44.19||36.59|
|Team Save Percentage||57.69%||40.74%|