INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 12: Jared Sullinger #0 and Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes react against the Michigan Wolverines during the semifinals of the 2011 Big Ten Men's Basketball Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse on March 12, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Ohio State v Syracuse Preview–Elite Eight
Ohio State isn’t used to playing a 2-3 zone and especially one as good as the #1 seed Syracuse will play Saturday night in the Elite Eight East Division Final. The team hopes to have success in the same way they did on Thursday night when they played against the zone defense of Cincinnati and took a 12 point lead to the half before the Bearcats switched to playing the more traditional man-on-man. The Buckeyes can’t be passive and pass the ball around the perimeter with their guards and hope for great results. They will need to mix up their attack with mid-range shots, drives to the hoop and long range baskets.
Get the ball down low to Sophomore Center Jared Sullinger and Sophomore Forward Deshaun Thomas, who have been prolific of late including a great game against Cincinnati this week in the Sweet Sixteen, is very important. Offensive rebounds and made shots outside by the guards, Aaron Craft, William Buford, and Lenzelle Smith Jr will be necessary. Wisconsin was able to take Syracuse to the final minute by making shots from around the arc.
The Buckeyes have gone with a short bench that has helped them in the tournament. If Sullinger gets into foul trouble, the bench is not as talented as the starters only scoring two points with three rebounds over the past two games. Sullinger might play with fouls the way he did in their last game. Syracuse is much deeper and fouls aren’t as big of a problem as they are for the Buckeyes. Syracuse has 10 players they rotate while Ohio State likes to play just 6 and sometimes 7 when Sullinger is on the bench.