Kansas vs. Ohio State
By Matthew L. Lofton
This does not help betting purposes, but keep an early eye on the officiating. If they let the teams play and get physical, I think Ohio State wins this. Starting guard Aaron Craft likes to get physical at the point of attack and if Craft can effectively disrupt Kansas from the start without getting in foul trouble, KU is in trouble. If the game is called like it was in Lawrence, Sullinger and Craft are in trouble because they tend to get in trouble with hand placement (see the Wisconsin in Columbus loss).
But I still like Kansas to win this game. KU played step for step with the UNC offense in the first half and then threw a junk defense at the Tar Heels late in the second that UNC head coach Roy Williams is still dazed over. Flat out, Bill Self has an edge over OSU in coaching. Matta cannot go long draughts like he did in the regional rounds and expect to win. He got a favorable draw with two Big East teams (and Syracuse with Fab Melo) so OSU was able to out-muscle its opponents to win the East.
But, it is imperative Jared Sullinger and Thomas Robinson realize they are not perimeter players for their respective teams. Flashing out screens up top and slipping to the hole is a great maneuver for bigs, so it is understandable for Robinson and Sullinger could both hit the three. I have no problem with bigs who can obviously shoot taking wide-open threes, but it is imperative they do not lose sight of their natural positions. Robinson hit a few threes against UNC but remembered he was a post. Sullinger sometimes has a tendency to forget this. Hitting a few threes by the bigs might actually hinder more than help these teams.
William Buford just needs to make better decisions. Even his game-winning shot against Michigan State was a “stand around with the ball and take a low-percentage shot” that just happened to go in.
I think Ohio State is about where it was when it played at KU, and I think Kansas is better. I would take Kansas -3. OSU has not overly impressed in the tournament thus far.
Take Louisville +10 ½ over Kentucky. Louisville has by far the best coach remaining in the final four. Kentucky has not come close to seeing defense like Louisville in the tournament. UK will win, but I think the rivalry pressure hits the Wildcats.