Larry Ness' 10* NCAA Tourney GOY: 7-0 run s/Mar 18: Larry made it a 4-0 sweep of his Sweet 16 and Elite 8 Side & Total GOY plays. He also won GOY plays in the NIT, tthe CBI & the CIT. That's a 7-0 run with 10* GOY plays in CBB s/March 18! Larry’s L2 NCAA Tourney GOY plays were on Butler & UConn (champ games) but TY's 10* NCAA Tourney GOY is on one of Saturday's two games. BE THERE!
Game: Ohio State at Kansas Mar 31 2012 8:45PM
Prediction: Ohio State
Grade: Loser (-110)
Reason: My 10* NCAA Tourney Game of the Year is on Ohio St at 8:45 ET.
Both semifinal games are rematches of regular season games but in the case of Ohio St/Kansas, the HUGE difference is that Jarred Sullinger did not play in Kansas’ 78-67 win back on Dec 10 in Allen Fieldhouse. However, both teams have “all hands on deck” for this game and it’s hard to imagine Kansas shooting 58.3 percent (9-of-17 on threes) again. Ohio St shot 38.7 percent (5-of-17 on threes) in that game, far below the 48.3 percent the team has averaged in going 31-7. The Buckeyes have won EIGHT of their last nine with the loss coming in the Big Ten tournament final against Michigan State. Five Buckeyes have averaged double-digits in the tournament, led by Thomas' 21.8-8.5. As for Kansas, the Jayhawks have won 13 of 14 with All-American Robinson averaging 15.8-12.5 and guard Johnson averaging 15.8 PPG over the team's four NCAA games and its final two games of the Big 12 tourney. Taylor averaged 16.7 PPG during the regular season (second to Robinson's 17.7 PPG) but had struggled through three NCAA games, before scoring 22 points while adding six rebounds and five assists in the team’s Elite 8 win over North Carolina. However, one can’t ignore that Taylor remains without a single three-point basket in TY’s NCAA tourney, going 0-of-17 from behind the arc. Coming up big in the NCAAs has been the 7-0 Withey (9.2-6.8-3.5 BPG), who has 20 blocks after four games (10 in one contest). Ohio St’s Sullinger (17.6-9.1) has yet to have a spectacular game but he’s been his usual self, averaging 18.0-8.3, while Buford (14.4-4.9), who I believe will have a terrific game here vs Kansas, is averaging a below par 11.8 PPG. PG Craft (8.8-3.8-4.7) is being lauded as a terrific perimeter defender and he’s upped his scoring in the tourney, averaging 10.3 PPG and 5.8 APG. The 6-4 Smith (6.6-4.6) is Ohio state’s fifth staretr and he’s ‘exploded’ by averaging 16.5 PPG in a Sweet 16 win over Cincy and an Elite 8 win over Syracuse. Ohio St comes into this game allowing the fewest points (59.7) of any team in the Final 4 and as mentioned, Craft is a terrific “on-ball” defender. Meanwhile, Kansas’ Taylor decision-making skills have resulted in high turnover games against some of the best teams Kansas has faced this season. “It's been impressive to see his scoring and creating ability with his larger offensive responsibilities,” says nbadraft.com “but he still hasn't alleviated any of the concerns scouts likely have regarding his ability to take care of the ball and efficiently run a team from the point guard spot.” Combine that with his 0-17 shooting this tourney from beyond the three-point line and one can see an edge here for Ohio St. Craft has enhanced his reputation as the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year over the last two weeks plus he and the rest of the backcourt rotation did an excellent job of keeping Syracuse’s bigger guards in front of them. Withey is getting his blocked shots plus Taylor gets his fair share of steals but we’ll see if Kansas get get in Ohio St’s ‘face’ and stop Sullinger inside or the 6-7 Thomas (22.3 PPG in TY’s tourney and had 19 points in the game at Kansas) and the 6-6 Buford (he had 21 points in that Dec 10 game) from getting their shots. Remember, Kansas needed a 12-0 run in the final three minutes or so to put away a dysfunctional North Carolina team, who without Marshall looked ‘lost’ last weekend (should have lost to Ohio). Kansa almost (should have?0 lost to Purdue and barely edged NC State before that North Carolina win, so for the first time this tourney, the Jayhawks get ‘tested.’ They won’t ‘pass!’ This game follows the “Battle of Kentucky” (Cardinals and Wildcats) and while I’m staying way from that one, I’m “all over” the Buckeyes in this one, as they will be taking on someone Monday night for the 2012 title.