The Sweet Sixteen is finally here and now the Tournament really gets interesting. The contenders get separated from the pretenders and champions are born. Thursday’s Match Up of the Day is the Arizona Wildcats vs the Ohio State Buckeyes. This game is on TBS at 7:41 ET. I chose this game because both of these teams have been near the top of the rankings all year and they are complete powerhouses. I choose this game because both teams are practically a mirror image of each other. This going to be a hard fought game of two very similar teams. One of the reasons I think they’re so similar is because Sean Miller, “the coach of Arizona” was Thad Matta’s, “ the coach of Ohio State” assistant when Matta coached at Xavier.
Ohio State’s Keys: The key for Ohio State is Aaron Craft. We all know he is one of the premier on ball defenders in the league but he also needs to score some buckets. Deshaun Thomas is going to score to rack up the points every night, but they need someone to help carry the load for him. Aaron Craft is the most talented player on their team who can do that. Also Deshaun Thomas, who is not known as a defensive star has to contain Solomon Hill, who is Arizona’s 6-foot-7 forward with long lengthy arms. Thomas is primarily known as a scorer. I don’t think he is going to do a good job guarding Hill. Look for Solomon Hill to have a big game. If the Buckeyes want to have a win, Craft and Thomas have to swap roles.
Arizona’s Keys: The key for the Wildcats is transfer point guard from Xavier Mark Lyons. This game is truly the match up of the point guards, Ohio State’s Craft vs Arizona’s Lyons. Lyons has to score against Craft which is almost impossible, ask the best player in the Country Trey Burke, even he had a tough time against Craft’s stellar defense. Also Solomon Hill has to stop Deshaun Thomas from scoring the ball. Hill is a pretty good defender but even the best defenders struggle stopping Thomas. If the Wildcats want to come out on top they need Lyons to have a big game and Hill to lock down Thomas.
Prediction: This game is going to be an up and down low scoring affair. At the end of the day it comes down to defense, and I think Craft gets it done for the Bucks. Defense wins championships and Ohio State has one of the best defenders. I have the Buckeyes escaping the Wildcats and moving on to the Elite Eight where they will cruise.