Ohio State never had to worry about losing its lead against UC Santa Barbara in round 1. The Buckeyes rolled to a 68-51 victory by the hot hands of Jon Deibler. The Buckeye sharpshooter had 23 points on the night on a 7-of-11 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
It won’t be so easy on Sunday when Ohio State faces Georgia Tech. This is the exact type of team Ohio State didn’t want to see in the NCAA tournament this season. The Yellow Jacket post players vastly outnumber the Buckeyes two big men.
Dallas Lauderdale played the game of his career against the Gauchos, but the fact is that he’ll need another performance as good or better to beat Georgia Tech. Lauderdale finished with four points, 12 rebounds, and eight blocks versus UC Santa Barbara.
The Yellow Jackets will bring both Derrick Favors and Gani Lawal to the court when they size up the Buckeyes on Sunday. Both players are expected to be first-round draft picks in this year’s NBA draft. Lawal finished with 14 points and six rebounds against Oklahoma State. Favors collected 12 points and nine rebounds.
Lauderdale will have his hands full in the post with Georgia Tech's talented big men. Kyle Madsen will come to Lauderdale’s aid, but is probably not the answer for stopping the talented Yellow Jackets. Ohio State’s lack of depth on the bench will show during the second half of this game, especially if Lauderdale gets into foul trouble early.
Georgia Tech has a clear advantage in bench depth. If either Favors or Lawal get into foul trouble, either Brian Oliver or Zachery Peacock can come in without a huge production drop-off. Oliver finished with six points and one rebound against Oklahoma State, and Peacock chipped in eight points and three rebounds.
Ohio State doesn’t expect to get much offensive production out of the post. Lauderdale and Madsen combined to finish with only seven points and three offensive rebounds. Don’t expect anything big out of either of them on offense when they match up with the Yellow Jackets' stars.
Evan Turner struggled against UCSB, shooting just 2-of-14 for nine points; he did have 10 rebounds, however. David Lighty didn’t fare much better, going 3-for-11 with nine points and six assists. These two need to have big games on Sunday if Ohio State is going to advance. Diebler can only do so much on the perimeter, and he was exceptionally hot against the Gauchos in round 1. But the Buckeyes may not be able to rely on him so heavily in their next game.
Look for Ohio State to exploit Georgia Tech when on offense: The smaller Buckeye lineup will use quickness and mid-range and perimeter jumpers to beat a larger, more physical Yellow Jacket team. This weakness can have some positives taken from it on the opposite end of the court, but Ohio State’s defense has to be smart and stay out of foul trouble, something Lauderdale has struggled with this season.