After a year away from March Madness, fans are expecting some craziness with today’s opening round of the NCAA Tournament. It took a few hours, but we just saw a massive upset in West Lafayette, with No. 2 seed Ohio State falling to No. 15 seed Oral Roberts.
Oral Roberts is 17-10 after the win. The team made the NCAA Tournament after winning the Summit League, in which it was the four-seed for the conference tournament. The team is ranked 150th in KenPom, the eighth-worst team in the field. Ohio State is ranked seventh. The Buckeyes were 15.5-point favorites entering the game.
This afternoon, the Golden Eagles were right with the Buckeyes the entire game. Ohio State seemed like it might grind out a late win in regulation, but Kevin Obanor hit two huge free throws with 15 seconds left to tie the game. Duane Washington Jr. got a chance to win it at the end of regulation, but missed a jumper with three seconds left to send things to overtime.
The Golden Eagles had the clear advantage throughout overtime, going up by as many as six with two minutes left. Duane Washington and E.J. Liddell kept the Buckeyes in it with big shots in the final minute, but once again, Obaner made some huge free throws at the line with 13 seconds left in the game. On Ohio State’s last possession, Justin Ahrens missed a tough three. Seth Towns got a big offensive board and kicked it out to a wide open Washington, but as was the case at the end of regulation, he missed a huge three, and Oral Roberts held on to win.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 19, 2021
Oral Roberts leaned on two stars to do almost all of the damage against Ohio State. Obanor scored 30 on 9-of-21 shooting, while Max Abmas chipped in 29 on 10-of-24.
Ohio State outshot Oral Roberts from the field, 43.3-percent to 35.7, and had a 15 rebound edge. The Buckeyes inability to hit threes (5-of-23) and woes at the free throw line (9-of-18) wound up sinking them. The Buckeyes also turned the ball over 15 times, to just six for the Golden Eagles.
Oral Roberts becomes just the ninth No. 15 seed to upset a No. 2 in the NCAA Tournament. They advance to face No. 7 seed Florida, which won a close game against Virginia Tech earlier today.