Final Four 2012: William Buford and Star Players Who Have to Play Better

Eric BallFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 22:  Head coach Thad Matta and William Buford #44  of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts from the bench 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 by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

There are multiple players still breathing in the Final Four that have been carried by their teammates.

I’m not talking about the fifth-year senior that averages one minute a game. I’m talking about outstanding talents that haven’t played up to the lofty expectations placed upon them.

Here are three guys that are lucky to be here and now have to take full advantage of their second chance.

William Buford-Ohio State

PITTSBURGH, PA - MARCH 17:  William Buford #44 of the Ohio State Buckeyes drives against Gary Bell, Jr. #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Consol Energy Center on March 17, 2012 in Pittsburgh,
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

The senior guard has been the glue-guy for the Buckeyes and almost shot his team out of the second weekend. In two games he shot a combined 4 of 20 from the floor while also committing five turnovers.

Buford has to keep shooting and ensure the dangerous Kansas backcourt has to exert plenty of energy on the defensive end of the floor. If his shot isn’t falling, Buford has to become more of a play-maker that penetrates the lane and find open looks for the rest of his teammates.

Kyle Kuric-Louisville

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 24:  Kyle Kuric #14 of the Louisville Cardinals looks to shoot over Erik Murphy #33 of the Florida Gators in the first half during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball West Regional Final at US Airways Center on March 24, 2012 in Phoenix, Ar
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Cardinals' leading scorer was completely shut down in their first meeting against Kentucky. John Calipari instructed his defense to never sag on Kuric, even when Peyton Siva used his dribble-drive to get into the lane. He finished with two points.

This time around Kuric, has to move without the ball better and improve upon an NCAA tournament to forget. After averaging 14 points during the regular season, Kuric is averaging 9.5 points while shooting 35.1 percent from the floor.

Kuric is the measuring stick for the offense, considering the team is 11-1 when he’s made three of more three-point shots.

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 25:  Marquis Teague #25 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots against Quincy Acy #4 of the Baylor Bears during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball South Regional Final at the Georgia Dome on March 25, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Marquis Teague-Kentucky

The freshman has been wildly inconsistent this season, but the point guard has to take care of the ball against Siva and the razor-sharp Louisville defense. He has committed 11 turnovers in the tournament, and you can bet that the Cardinals full-court press will be looking to add to the total at every chance they get.