Ken Kohl (4:10 pm)

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?

So, how did this all happen? Looking at the starters for each team, in terms of minutes per game. Again, numbers courtesy of Statsheet.
Syracuse brings a tall, rangy line-up to the floor. They also have another three players that average 10 minutes and 4 points each, so Boeheim isn’t afraid to spread his minutes around. For the Orange, I added the game stats of non-student, and at this point, non-athlete, Fab Melo. Fab gave ‘Cuse a big inside presence that helps fuel their zone defense. Even without the 7-footer, Syracuse can play "tall", since two of the three 10-minute guys (above) are 6-8 and 6-10. 

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!


03/24/2012 19:10

Ken: You were prophetic. Good job buddy!

03/25/2012 07:09

Dave, it's a 'gift'. ;)


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