Ohio State vs. Syracuse: What Orange Must Do to Eke out Victory

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 24, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 22:  Scoop Jardine #11 and Michael Carter-Williams #1 of the Syracuse Orange celebrate after defeating the Wisconsin Badgers during their 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Semifinal game at TD Garden on March 22, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Syracuse Orange may be the No. 1 seed in the East Region, but that doesn't mean they are the favorites heading into Saturday's matchup against Ohio State.

After the loss of defensive anchor Fab Melo, the Orange have been able to win games with tough defense and good bench play, but a team like Ohio State can have a way of canceling that out.

Bovada has Syracuse as three-point underdogs against Ohio State.

Here's what Syracuse must do to topple the Buckeyes.

 

Get Ohio State in Foul Trouble

Beyond the starting five, Ohio State really doesn't have much. Guards Shannon Scott and Jordan Sibert shot 28 percent and 30 percent, respectively, this season and forwards Evan Ravenel and Sam Thompson haven't done anything in the NCAA tournament.

Scott had the most minutes off the bench for Ohio State against Cincinnati (16), but he shot 1-of-4 from the floor (although he did contribute three assists).

Not many teams can get Ohio State in foul trouble, but if the Orange force turnovers and get out on the break, they have a shot.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Deshaun Thomas #1 and Shannon Scott #3 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate a play against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pi
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Run, Run, Run

While Ohio State doesn't have much depth, Syracuse's depth is outstanding.

The Orange, even with the loss of Melo, currently have a nine-man rotation, featuring backups Dion Waiters, C.J. Fair and Baye Keita, who came up big for them against Wisconsin.

Waiters is their best player and Fair and Keita just had huge games for the Orange. Syracuse needs to attack Ohio State and run every chance it gets.

You know what they say, "If you can't beat them, turn their legs into rubber."

At least, that's how I think it goes.

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  Dion Waiters #3 of the Syracuse Orange drives in the second half against Will Spradling #55 of the Kansas State Wildcats during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Find a Way to Limit Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas

The combination of Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas has been absolutely deadly for the Buckeyes this season.

Sullinger has the post game and rebounding skills to create havoc in the interior. Thomas has been a dominant scorer in the NCAA tournament, and he spreads the floor with his long-range shooting ability.

Thomas is averaging 25 points and 8.6 rebounds in the tournament. Sullinger is averaging 17.6 points and 8.6 rebounds.

Rakeem Christmas and Keita have a nightmare on their hands and they're going to have to play the games of their lives.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 22:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after a basket against Cincinnati Bearcats during their 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Semifinal game at TD Garden on March 22, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo b
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

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