(2) Ohio State vs. (2) Kansas Preview
Senior NBA Writer & College Basketball Editor
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(2) Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes had a very clear an effective game plan against the Syracuse Orange: attack them inside. They fed Jared Sullinger, crashed the glass aggressively, and earned a spot in the Final Four over the Orange 77-70. Sullinger posted up 19 points and seven rebounds. He made 12 trips to the free throw line, keeping the Orange’s big men in foul trouble. Deshaun Thomas came up just shy of a double-double with 14 points and nine boards. The Buckeyes won the battle of the boards by 15 total and got to the free throw line 42 times to the Orange’s 25. Anytime you win those two categories by that wide of a margin, you’re going to be tough to beat. Against the Kansas Jayhawks in the Final Four, the Buckeyes need another big game from Sullinger on both ends of the floor as he’ll be going head-to-head with fellow future pro Thomas Robinson. Aaron Craft’s defense against Tyshawn Taylor will be vital. If he can frustrate him, the Buckeyes could find themselves in the national championship.
(2) Kansas Jayhawks
With Tar Heels starting point guard Kendall Marshall out, Jayhawks lead guard Tyshawn Taylor had his way. Taylor scored a game-high 22 points as he also grabbed six boards, dished out five assists and created five steals. He was at his best and he needed to be since Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey found themselves in foul trouble while trying to contain the Tar Heels’ talented big men. The Jayhawks managed to stay close while they waited on the bench and when they came back they were able to pull away 80-67. In Ohio State the Jayhawks are going up against another team that can and will look to pound it inside against them. Robinson and Withey need to do a better job of staying on the floor. Taylor should be assertive again, but he needs to be smart about it. His three-point shot obviously isn’t falling (he’s 0-17 in the tournament), so there’s no reason to throw up another five like he did against the Tar Heels.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Ohio State. Games are never easy to pick at this stage of the tournament. Their match up on December 10 could not be any more meaningless since Sullinger was out then. With him available now, we expect him to have a big game and lead his team to the championship game.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!