Ohio State basketball keeps March Madness hopes alive by getting revenge on Iowa

The Ohio State basketball team absolutely had to beat Iowa on Thursday night to keep their NCAA Tournament hopes alive. They did and now a golden opportunity sits in front of them.

Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Ben Krikke (23) passes as Ohio State
Mar 14, 2024; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes forward Ben Krikke (23) passes as Ohio State / Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Ohio State basketball team knew they had to beat Iowa in order to keep their slim NCAA Tournament hopes alive. Iowa was on the bubble themselves and needed a win. Simply put, it was a "loser leaves town match". The Buckeyes wanted to keep their hot play alive.

Coming into Thursday night, Ohio State had won five of their previous six games. All of those games were coached by Jake Diebler. Since Chris Holtmann was fired, the Buckeyes have been a different team. That continued in the rematch against Iowa in Minneapolis.

Iowa beat Ohio State by two points in the first matchup in Iowa City. The Buckeyes got revenge by beating them 90-78. It was a very high-scoring game that featured both teams getting up and down the court in a hurry. Defense was a little hard to come by.

Scotty Middleton was the star for Ohio State in the first half. He had 11 points on 4/4 shooting and 3/3 from beyond the arc in the game, with all coming in the first half. His scoring is really what gave the Buckeyes the push they needed to start the game.

Jamison Battle was the one who picked up the slack in the second half. He was held scoreless in the first half but then scored 23 in the second half. He was actually the leading scorer for the Ohio State basketball team. A lot of his points came from the free throw line as he was a perfect 9/9.

Ohio State made 11 threes in the game and shot 55% from beyond the arc. That kind of shooting is the biggest reason why the Buckeyes move on to face Illinois in the second round on Friday. Winning that game will give them a shot to get into the NCAA Tournament.

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It's been a storybook run since Diebler took over. They just need one more win to extend it.