(2) Ohio State vs. (6) Cincinnati Preview
Senior NBA & College Basketball Editor
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(2) Ohio State Buckeyes
The balance of the Buckeyes was on full display in the Round of 32 against Gonzaga. Four different players scored in double figures for them as they knocked off the ‘Zags 73-66. Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas led the way with 18, but Aaron Craft really put the Buckeyes over the top with his 17 points and 10 assists. His defense against the Bulldogs star freshman point guard Kevin Pangos was instrumental in slowing them down offensively. With Pangos struggling the Bulldogs couldn’t top 40 percent shooting from the field or beyond the arc. In the Sweet 16 against Cincinnati the Buckeyes need to run things through Sullinger early, as they often do, to see if he can get their starting center Yancy Gates in foul trouble. They’re a different team without him on the floor, but still a scary one with guards like Dion Dixon, Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright.
(6) Cincinnati Bearcats
Points did not come easy in the Bearcats’ Round of 32 clash against Florida State. Both teams were impressive defensively, but in the end it was the Bearcats who came out on top 62-56. Dion Dixon’s breakaway dunk broke a 50-50 tie with 90 seconds remaining and the Bearcats went a perfect 8-8 from the free throw line afterwards to clinch the victory. Yancy Gates had a modest 10 points and five rebounds while Sean Kilpatrick scored a game-high 18. The Bearcats forced 17 turnovers, something that they’ll need to try and replicate against Ohio State. The Buckeyes’ attack starts with Jared Sullinger inside. Slowing him down is the first key, but almost equally important for the Bearcats will be keeping Deshaun Thomas in check. He’s hurt teams when they try to focus in on Sullinger too much. With a balanced, efficient scoring effort the Bearcats very well could find themselves in the Elite Eight.
HOOPSWORLD’s pick: Ohio State. Like just about every game at this time, this is a tough one to call. We’re going to go with Sullinger having his best game of the tournament and the Buckeyes moving onto the Elite Eight.
Who do you think is going win? Chime in by leaving a comment below!