Six Reasons Why Ohio Would Be No Match for Ohio State in the Sweet 16
With last night's improbable victory by the Ohio Bobcats from the MAC over the mighty Georgetown Hoyas from the Big East, talk is beginning around central Ohio about an Ohio State vs. Ohio Sweet 16 showdown.
The matchup would pit two schools separated by less than 75 miles and two programs who couldn't be on more opposite ends of the spectrum.
The Ohio Bobcats finished the MAC regular season at 7-9, ninth in the league, while the Buckeyes were regular season and conference champions of the Big Ten.
If these two teams do square off next week in St. Louis, here are six reasons why the small-town Ohio Bobcats stand no chance against the mighty Ohio State Buckeyes.
Simply put, Evan Turner is the best player in college basketball. No player has dominated the collegiate level in the past 30 years like Turner has this season. Every game he plays in he is the best player on the court.
Ohio has no answer for the 6'7", do it all point guard for the Buckeyes. Turner will be able to have his way against the Bobcats all night long.
His sheer athleticism and skill will be better than any player Ohio has played against in their lives, and with his size and quickness he has the ability to guard anyone on the court.
The Supporting Cast
While much maligned at times, the supporting cast for the Buckeyes has been stellar all season long. Led by sharpshooters Jon Diebler and William Buford and Mr. Do It All David Lighty, the group has been outstanding throughout the regular season.
Buford has been a consistent contributor all year, averaging nearly 15 points a game to go along with six rebounds and three assists. Buford has also scored in double figures in 27 games for the Buckeyes.
Diebler is one of the best shooters in the nation. The man can hit it from anywhere on the court. Diebler averages 13 points a game and has already hit over 100 three-pointers this year.
Lighty does everything the Buckeyes want him to do. He can defend anybody on the court and can score if called upon. Lighty also has tournament experience, having played in the 2007 Final Four.
Some may consider Ohio State's six-man rotation a detriment, but people who really know basketball realize a six- or seven-man rotation in the NCAA Tournament is ideal.
While the Bobcats may rotate players in and out, the Buckeyes will, if necessary, play four guys the entire game. Quite frankly, why not?
These kids have been doing it all season, and it has not come back to bite them at all. Ohio can run up and down the court if they prefer to wear out Ohio State, but against the more athletic and much more physically gifted Buckeyes, that might be a mistake.
Besides, the timeouts during the NCAA Tournament are a minute longer than in the regular season. If Ohio State can avoid foul trouble like they have all season long, depth will not be an issue.
The Buckeyes are led by one of college basketball's premier young coaches in Thad Matta. Nobody in the country outside of John Calipari recruits like Matta, and he has been to the Big Dance before.
Matta led Ohio State to the national championship game in 2007 and knows what playing deep into March is all about. On that run he had to beat his former assistant Sean Miller when Ohio State beat Xavier in the second round.
Once again he will have to take down another former assistant in Ohio's John Groce, who coached with Matta at Butler, Xavier, and then Ohio State.
Let's face it—the protege rarely takes down his mentor.
Unlike Ohio, the Ohio State Buckeyes have NCAA Tournament experience in the form of David Lighty. The junior has been to two Big Dances and a Final Four. That experience is something you can't teach.
Thad Matta also has more tournament experience than the entire town of Athens could dream of, having led Xavier to the Elite Eight before taking Ohio State to the Final Four.
This experience in big games will certainly steady the Buckeyes during the NCAA Tournament, and the lack of experience on the Bobcats will hurt their chances against the more poised and talented Buckeyes.
Luck Will Run Out for Ohio
Contrary to popular belief held by some Ohio fans, eventually the Bobcats will miss a shot.
Against Georgetown, Ohio flat-out couldn't miss. They hit nearly every shot they threw up there, and eventually that luck will run out.
For a team that shoots less than 37 percent from downtown and only 43 percent from the field, there will come a time when the hoop is not the size of the ocean anymore.
That time will undoubtedly come against the Buckeyes' stingy half-court defense and will spell the end of Ohio's magical March run.
While these teams are still a long way away from meeting in the Sweet 16, the possibility is certainly out there, but the simple fact is this: Ohio is no match for Ohio State.
Man, I love March.