Syracuse is just surviving and advancing. Teams are lighting them up from three and getting plenty of offensive rebounds. The Badgers did make 14 three’s against the Syracuse 2-3 zone but they did not allow penetration into the zone. Wisconsin made only 7 two pointers for the whole game. Baye Keita only had 4 points, but he gave the Orange great minutes without Fab Melo against Wisconsin. He played a lot better than Rakeem Christmas. C.J. Fair stepped up big time. – In the previous two NCAA tournament games C.J. Fair scored a total of 6 points, but in this game he had 15 points. He shot 7 of 9 from the field. He also added 7 rebounds and 4 steals. Guards Scoop Jardine and Dion Waiters continued to be the Orange best players. In the tournament Waiters is averaging 13.6 points off the bench, while Jardine is averaging 13.6 points. Last game Brandon Triche stepped it up and had 11 points on 5 of 7 shooting.
Besides Kentucky, Ohio State has the best starting five in the country. Wow, Deshaun Thomas is the hottest basketball player in the country. Against the Bearcats he had 26 points and 7 rebounds. He also added three three’s. He can score in multiple ways, and that’s what makes him so tough. In three NCAA tournament games Thomas is averaging 25 points per game. Jared Sullinger also stepped his game up big time last time out. He wasn’t at his best in the first two tournament games but in this one he was unstoppable. He finished the game with 23 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists. Point guard Aaron Craft is the best on the ball defender in the nation and it’s not even close. Last game he had 6 steals. For the tournament now Craft is averaging 12 points, 4 steals, and 6.3 assists. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is coming off a big game. In the two previous NCAA games; he a combined 10 points. Against Cincinnati he had 15 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, and 2 steals. He shot 6 of 7 from the field including 3 of 4 from three. The only negative for the Buckeyes was the play of William Buford. Buford finished the game with 4 points on 1 of 8 shooting. If the Buckeyes want to win a national championship they need Buford on his game. The Buckeyes are still not getting any production from their bench. In three tournament games the Buckeyes have a combined total of 9 points off their bench.
I really like Ohio State in this game. The Buckeyes will take advantage of Syracuse’s two weakness offensive rebounding and defending the three. In the three tournament games the Buckeyes are averaging 11 offensive rebounds per game. Syracuse bigs are too lanky that won’t be able to handle Sullinger. I also think Thomas will have a big game knocking down the 15 footers in the middle of the zone. Lastly the Buckeyes only shot 33 % from three in the regular season but in the tournament they are hot from three shooting 40%. They are making about 7 threes per game and this is without Buford doing much. Look for Buford to step up big time and hit a key shot late to give the Buckeyes the win. Ohio State-69 Syracuse-63
- Category: NCAA Basketball