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(2) Ohio State vs. (6) Arizona
Posted By HOOPSWORLD On March 25, 2013 @ 1:11 am In NCAA | No Comments
(2) Ohio State Buckeyes
Going up against one of the most difficult teams to defend in the tournament, the Buckeyes showed that they could slow them down just enough and be pretty solid themselves offensively. Deshaun Thomas scored 22 and Aaron Craft contributed 18, including a game-winning three, to push the Buckeyes past the Hawkeyes 78-75. The Hawkeyes were on from three, making 12-25. However, the Buckeyes were 9-18 from distance and shot 51 percent from the field overall. Their defense forced 16 turnovers, which is something they need to look to duplicate against the Wildcats in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats are a talented and athletic group with really potent scoring options. The Buckeyes’ defense has been key for them and will be once again against the Wildcats. This region is now theirs to lose with all hell breaking loose in the upper half. If they can get past Arizona, the winner of Wichita State/La Salle is all that’s standing in their way of the Final Four.
(6) Arizona Wildcats
After seeing what the Harvard Crimson was capable of in the Round of 64 against New Mexico, the Wildcats knew better than to take them lightly. They came out confident, prepared and executed at a high level as they avoided being upset 74-51. The Crimson did not have anywhere near as much luck attacking the Wildcats’ defense as they did New Mexico’s; the Wildcats held them to 27 percent shooting from the field and three. Meanwhile, the Wildcats had mismatches that they attacked all game long. Mark Lyons was 12-17 from the field, scoring a game high 27 points. Solomon Hill had a solid outing as well, posting a double-double of 13 points and 10 rebounds. The competition gets much stiffer for the Wildcats in the Sweet 16 as they will take on an Ohio State team that will be able to match up with them man-to-man. They key for the Wildcats is to defend at their potential. If they can slow down Deshaun Thomas and Aaron Craft, they could be back in the Elite Eight.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Ohio State. The Wildcats have looked good in the tournament, but the Buckeyes are by far their stiffest competition and will prove to be too good on the defensive end to upset.
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