Sweet 16 Keys to the Game – Arizona vs. Ohio State 3/28/13

Last Updated: March 27th, 2013 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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Ohio State BasketballOur 2013 NCAA Tournament predictions continue on Thursday, March 28th with the Sweet 16. Join us as the #6 Arizona Wildcats and the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes go to war in what should be a remarkable opening game of the fourth round of the NCAA Tournament.

March Madness: Arizona Wildcats vs. Ohio State Buckeyes
Arizona vs. Ohio State Location: Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
Arizona vs. Ohio State Date/Time: Thursday, March 28th, 7:47 p.m. (ET)
2013 March Madness On TV: TBS

Key #1: Arizona has to continue to do a great job of defending the perimeter
The Wildcats have really done well on the outside in this tournament, and they have done so against some teams that really can stroke the three-ball. New Mexico had no answer for the three-point shooting that Harvard brought to the table, while most were under the impression that Belmont was going to go all Florida Gulf Coast on the Wildcats. Instead, the two teams were held to just 13 three-point makes between them, and in this day and age in the NCAA Tournament against mid-majors, that’s not all that bad. Ohio State isn’t going to jack up nearly as many threes as the Crimson or the Bruins, but when it does shoot it from the outside, it does so with purpose. Arizona has to find a way to make sure that G Aaron Craft and all of those perimeter players stay quiet, because if they don’t and the Bucks get going, this game is going to be said and done with.

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#6 Arizona Wildcats +3.5
#2 Ohio State Buckeyes +3.5
Over/Under 134
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Key #2: Deshaun Thomas has to remain a consistent star
For as good as the Big Ten was this season, there aren’t many players that are nearly as good as Thomas is. He’s big, he’s lanky, he’s quick, and he can shoot the ball from anywhere in the gym. He also is insanely consistent in his ways, and he rarely leaves games for more than a blow. He only sat out two minutes against Iowa State, and he has played at least 34 minutes in all but one game since January 26th. More importantly, he feels like he is good for at least 16 points every single night. In fact, in actuality, that’s precisely what he does. Thomas has put up at least 16 points in seven straight games and at least 14 points in every single game that he has played since that January 26th game against Penn State. If Thomas continues at this pace, he’ll be in great shape going forward. However, when he is on a drought, this whole offense seems to be out of whack, so Head Coach Thad Matta knows that he needs to get Thomas’ best game on Thursday to ensure taking care of the Wildcats.


Key #3: Ohio State has to stay on the gas pedal
How much longer can the Buckeyes really keep this pace up? That’s a real question that we have at the moment. Ohio State had to play three games in three days at the Big Ten Tournament two weeks ago, and last week, it had to play at a wicked pace against both Iona and Iowa State in a span of just a few days. We had a sense that perhaps the Buckeyes were getting tired at the end of that game against the Cyclones, and that’s perhaps why a double-digit lead was squandered late in the game, setting up Craft for his heroics. Did the week off really give the Bucks enough time to recover from such a brutal stretch? Playing Arizona isn’t going to make life any easier for sure, and the pace of this game is going to be kept down as a result. OSU doesn’t want to play this game into the 70s like Arizona will want to, and though there is no doubt that both teams can win at the other’s pace, we know that it is more important for the Buckeyes to use their energy on the defensive end of the court instead of having to run up and down with 60-70 possessions each.

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Posted in NCAA Basketball - Last Updated on Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 @ 7:45 pm (EST)
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