In the Cincinnati preview, I mentioned that Elite Eight sounded pretty good. The Final Four sounds even better. To do that, #2 seed Ohio State (30-7) needs to get past the #1 seed Syracuse Orangemen. (Orangemen, seriously?) On Saturday evening (CBS) the Buckeyes and the Orangemen tangle with the winner to the Final Four. Have I mentioned that recently? Speaking of "Four", let’s take a look at The Four Factors to Winning, courtesy of these guys:
There isn’t much to differentiate these teams, with the exception of OSU’s better FT rate. This might be the edge the Buckeyes need to get out of Boston, and (for entertainment purposes only) OSU is a 3-point favorite. The exact margin of a Buford bomb. Are you listening, Wil?
To counter this, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of Thompson and Ravenel to "lengthen" our starters a bit.
OK, on to the game. The Buckeyes looked impressive in the 1st half against Cincy’s zone, and if they can find the open spots (and hit the shots again) then it will be a good evening for the Buckeyes. Although Syracuse is pretty athletic, I like for OSU to continue getting the ball inside to Sullinger. Buford can’t wait until 30 minutes of game time have elapsed to score. Craft works off picks to take open shots. Again, don’t worry about Thomas, he usually finds a way to score; if he is hot from the field early, show’s over. ‘Zelle will find a way to penetrate the Syracuse zone to get his offensive put-backs.
Defensively, OSU needs to contest Scoop Jardine’s ball movement, because he is their Craft, except not as swoon-inducing. The Buckeyes need to play a full, intense 40 minutes against Syracuse; they can’t take periods of time off like
they did against UC on Thursday. How does this end? Buckeyes win by 4-6 points.
Since western New York is polluted with Syracuse grads and fans, I really need an Ohio State win for peace of mind.
The Final Four has a nice ring to it. Go Bucks!