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NCAA Tournament 2011: Previewing the Buckeyes' Sweet 16 Matchup Against Kentucky

Eddie WaltersAnalyst IIMarch 21, 2011

Senior David Lighty will need to be a star on the defensive end against Kentucky, as he will find himself matched up with Terrance Jones at times.
Senior David Lighty will need to be a star on the defensive end against Kentucky, as he will find himself matched up with Terrance Jones at times.Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buckeyes have won their first two tournament games by a combined 61 points and they will look to keep momentum rolling against the Wildcats of Kentucky.

Kentucky comes in hot winning their last eight games, including two wins over No. 2 seeded Florida. The Wildcats are led by freshman stars Brandon Knight 17.4 points per game and Terrence Jones 16.1 points per game.

Breaking down the rosters, the biggest advantage the Wildcats have over the Buckeyes is Terrence Jones who who at 6'8" will be a mismatch against Ohio State especially when Ohio State brings Lauderdale off the floor and runs with their shorter lineup.

Buckeye coach Thad Matta starts Buford, Diebler, Lighty, Sullinger and Lauderdale but, likes to quickly bring in star freshman point guard Aaron Craft. When Craft comes on, Lauderdale usually sits out, moving Sullinger to center and Lighty to play the power forward position.

Lighty, one of the best defenders in the country, would be giving up size to Jones, but Matta has great faith in the fifth-year senior's defensive ability.

The Wildcats have the size and strength to battle down low with Big Ten Freshman of the Year Jared Sullinger, and should be able to throw enough bodies at him to make things tough for him.

It's the three-point shooting where Ohio State has been so deadly from in their first two tournament games, shooting 24-50 from beyond the arc. If the Buckeyes can get their outside shooting going early against Kentucky, they should be able to keep the Wildcats off-balance defensively.

This one will be close, but Ohio State is just the better overall team and I look for them to win in one of the more physical battles we've seen in the tournament so far.

Ohio State 71, Kentucky 68

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