Ohio State vs Kansas
8:49 pm in New Orleans
Ohio State’s Player to Watch: Deshaun Thomas: The sophomore is averaging 22.3 points and 7.8 rebounds through four tournament games.
Kansas’ Player to Watch: Thomas Robinson: The national player of the year candidate has average 17.9 points and 11.8 rebounds through four tournament games.
Welcome to that “Other Game” at the Final Four.
The Ohio State versus Kansas matchup may not have the fantastic freshmen as the first, or the outspoken coaches or even that blood-feud story line of the opening semifinal between the bluegrass state rivals Kentucky and Louisville. But this game still should be worth a two-hour investment in front of the TV set Saturday night (TSN/CBS).
Besides the chance to watch two top-line teams play for a spot in the national title game, the Buckeyes, and the Jayhawks game offers a rare opportunity to see two All-Americans going at it with everything on the line.
While Kentucky’s Davis is a story of an ultra-talented freshman trying to lead his team to a championship in what likely will be his only year with the Wildcats, Buckeye’s Sullinger and Kansas’ Robinson approach college in a different way. Remaining with the respective teams for a chance to win it all. Their now in a position to make that a reality.
Kansas snapped out of an offensive funk against the high powered North Carolina Tarheels in an 80-67 win in the regional final Sunday. The Jayhawks had all five starters in double-figure, Kansas entered the NCAA tournament 14th nationally in field-goal percentage at a little over 48 per cent. Kansas are lead by national player of the year candidate Thomas Robinson and dynamic guard Tyshawn Taylor. Meantime, Ohio State has entered the tournament 11th nationally in scoring defense and 55th in opponents’ field-goal percentage and have shown it throughout. The Buckeyes have held three of its four opponents to 66 points and has forced 51 turnovers through four games.
Ohio State’s forward Deshaun Thomas has been nothing but spectacular with his play in the NCAA tournament. Combine him with Jared Sullinger and William Burford and the Buckeyes have a lethal three man attack. While Kansas defense will be a stiff test for Ohio State, the Jayhawks have allowed only North Carolina to crack the 60-point plateau in the NCAA tournament. Kansas center Jeff Withey has 20 blocks through four tournament games, including 10 in a win over NC State.
The Kansas Jayhawks just won’t die in this tournament. They trailed Purdue late and then rallied for a three-point win. They fought hard and held on to a three point victory over North Carolina State. Then they turned a one-point lead into a blowout win over North Carolina as they ended the game on a 12-0 run. Kansas also posted a 78-67 win over Ohio State earlier this season. Ohio State however did play without their star center Jared Sullinger who missed that game with back spasms. However, Kansas controlled the flow that afternoon and cruised to victory despite missing seven free throws and committing 18 turnovers. Ohio State handled a depleted Syracuse squad in the regional final, but it wasn’t anything like the team that already sent them packing once this season.
Prediction: Kansas 68 Ohio State 67
RESULT: Kansas 64 Ohio State 62 (Thomas Robinson 19 Points, 8 Rebounds)