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Final Four 2012 Scores: Players Who Will Step Up in Kansas vs. Ohio State

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks reacts as he looks on against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IMarch 31, 2012

When you're playing in the Final Four, you either rise to the occasion or sink like a stone.

There will be plenty of players trying to make their mark in Kansas vs. Ohio State on Saturday. Some are stars, some are vital role players. But you don't have to score 20 points to make an impact.

Here are four players who will step up in the Final Four.

 

Aaron Craft, G, Ohio State

Like I said, a player doesn't have to score 20 points to be a difference-maker.

Aaron Craft is averaging 8.8 points this season, but he's also averaging 2.5 steals and is a critical component of Ohio State's pressure defense. He had six steals against Cincinnati in the Sweet 16.

Craft is matched up with dynamic point guard Tyshawn Taylor in the Final Four. Taylor just went off for 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and five steals in Kansas' upset of North Carolina, but he has been erratic at times this season and he's not immune to coughing the ball up.

I think Craft frustrates Taylor and it becomes a big part of Ohio State advancing to the national championship game.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 22:  Jaquon Parker #44 of the Cincinnati Bearcats fights for the loose ball against Aaron Craft #4 of the Ohio State Buckeyes during their 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Semifinal game at TD Garden on March 22, 2012 in Boston,
Elsa/Getty Images

 

Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Jeff Withey was overshadowed by Taylor and Thomas Robinson during the regular season, but he's getting plenty of credit for his play in the NCAA Tournament.

Withey, with his rebounding and shot-blocking ability, has been a huge asset for the Jayhawks in the tournament. Against N.C. State, he had 10 blocks. Against North Carolina, he posted 15 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

I expect Withey to alter some shots and continue his work on the class against Ohio State.

OMAHA, NE - MARCH 18:  Sandi Marcius #55 of the Purdue Boilermakers attempts a shot in the firsthalf against Jeff Withey #5 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the third round of the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at CenturyLink Center on March 18, 2012
Eric Francis/Getty Images

 

Jared Sullinger, F, Ohio State

NBA scouts may be 50-50 on Jared Sullinger, given he's not the most explosive player, but one thing's for sure: Sullinger's a star in college basketball.

Sullinger is averaging 17.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks this season and he's been spectacular throughout the tournament. After scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds against Cincinnati, he posted 19 points and seven rebounds against Syracuse in the Elite Eight.

Sullinger will likely be matched up against explosive Robinson for most of the game, but I still expect him to score big with his post game.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Syracuse Orange during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Final at TD Garden on March 24, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/G
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

 

Thomas Robinson, F, Kansas

Thomas Robinson is a legit top-three pick in the NBA draft. He's an explosive athlete who attacks the glass.

Robinson isn't a big-time shot-blocker, so in that regard I don't think he'll severely limit Sullinger defensively, but I do think he will have a huge impact on the glass and when he gets the ball down low in the post.

Superstars shine on the big stage and I expect Robinson to continue his marvelous play against the Buckeyes.

ST LOUIS, MO - MARCH 25:  Thomas Robinson #0 of the Kansas Jayhawks looks on against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball Midwest Regional Final at Edward Jones Dome on March 25, 2012 in St Louis, Missouri. Kansas won 80-67.
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

 

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