2012 NCAA Men's Final Four

Final Four 2012 Game Time: Bill Self vs. Thad Matta Is Coaching Clash to Watch

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24:  Head coach Thad Matta  of the Ohio State Buckeyes shouts from the bench against 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/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images
Sam R. QuinnSenior Analyst IIIMarch 31, 2012

The whole country is talking about the impending chess match between John Calipari and Rick Pitino, but everyone is forgetting about the coaching matchup on the other side of the bracket.

Calipari's squad is set to tip off against Pitino's Cardinals at 6:09 PM EST, but you'll have to wait a few hours to see the real coaching matchup.

Ohio State vs. Kansas is scheduled to tip off at 8:49 PM EST and will actually be a contest.

Pitino is a legendary coach, no doubt about that, but no matter what this guy does when his team is on the floor, Kentucky is going to come out with a win.

The coaching matchup is disregarded when one team clearly has superior talent over the other. Kentucky is too fast, too strong and too good to fall victim to the famous Rick Pitino full-court press.

The Wildcats will break it quickly and never look back.

On the other hand, the contest pitting Thad Matta against Bill Self is much more about the two head coaches.

Ohio State is a hair better than Kansas, but nowhere near enough to give Matta a clear-cut coaching advantage.

Both coaches will be trying to figure out similar problems.

Does Self put Jeff Withey or Thomas Robinson on Sullinger?

Does Matta put Sullinger on Withey or Robinson? Can he effectively defend either one?

How is Ohio State going to keep Tyshawn Taylor from ripping them apart for the second time this season? How can Matta use his deeper team to his advantage against a shorter Kansas rotation?

Can Self find someone to guard Deshaun Thomas on the perimeter? How does he combat Aaron Craft's stellar perimeter defense?

The coaching decisions made by both Self and Matta will be of the utmost importance in both team's quest for a championship game berth.

The coaching competition in the second game tonight is the one to keep an eye on. It's the only game tonight in which the coaching will actually prove pivotal to the outcome.

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