Elite 8 Predictions: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange 3/24/12

Last Updated: March 24th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Two of the top teams in the whole NCAA Tournament are going to square off on Thursday night in Beantown, and we are set to make our Elite 8 predictions with our Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Syracuse Orange keys to the game.

2012 Elite 8 Matchup: #2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #1 Syracuse Orange
East Region Location: TD Garden, Boston, MA
Elite 8 Date/Time: Saturday, March 24th, 7:05 p.m.
Ohio State vs. Syracuse Television Coverage: CBS

Key #1: Someone is going to have to take over the role of Fab Melo in the middle
Syracuse has been able to use a strong enough defense to get the job done against some of the other teams in this tournament, knowing that none of the three opponents that the team has faced has scored more than 65 points. That being said, there really hasn’t been that dominating big man that would be able to penetrate into the teeth of that 2-3 zone like Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas will likely be able to. It is hard to see how anyone else is going to be able to anchor the middle of this defense for a lineup that is suddenly quite small, and if no one can take to the task at hand, the big boys for the Buckeyes are going to have a field day assuming that the guards take care of the basketball and can work it inside.

Elite 8 Odds at Wager Web Sportsbook
Ohio State Buckeyes -3
Syracuse Orange +3
Over/Under 135.5
Click Here to Bet Your Elite 8 Picks!

Key #2: Aaron Craft has to make sure the OSU offense keeps up at a good clip
It’s hard to always identify which one of the Ohio State guards is truly the point guard, but Craft is the man that has to make a lot of the big time passes to get the ball inside in the post. He did a remarkable job of this against the Cincinnati Bearcats, another team from the Big East, and another team that plays a heck of a lot like these Orange do. We know when Sullinger and Thomas get the ball in their hands, they know what they are doing with it. They shot a combined 17-of-30 from the floor and had 49 points between them, and they also had 18 boards. The key is going to be keeping them involved and getting the ball to them in the post as early as possible. If that’s the case, not only will the inside game be working, but the outside game is going to likely get involved as well when the others in the Syracuse backcourt are crashing down to help out and double team.


Key #3: Kris Joseph has to kick his game into gear
Joseph is a man that averaged shooting the ball over 10 times per game in the regular season, and he shot 42.2 percent from the floor and 34.9 percent from downtown. He is the man that is almost certainly going to have to step up and hit the big time shot down the stretch. However, the problem is that he has now had six straight games with 12 points or fewer, and all of those games are below his scoring average, which currently sits at 13.5 points per game. It is going to take senior leadership to get the job done in this one against an Ohio State team that is likely a heck of a lot more talented than the Syracuse team that is going to be on the court.

Click Here to get the best March Madness picks that you’ll find on the internet, including our NCAA Tournament picks and the Elite 8 picks for the rest of the NCAA Tournament game odds.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Saturday, March 24th, 2012 @ 2:03 am (EST)
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