There is only a place for one more team in the NCAA Tournament Final, and on Saturday night, either the Ohio State Buckeyes or the Kansas Jayhawks are going to claim their prize as one of the last two teams standing. Check out our Final Four predictions!
Final Four Matchup: #2 Ohio State Buckeyes vs. #2 Kansas Jayhawks
Date: Saturday, March 31st, 8:45 ET
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
Final Four Odds: Ohio State -2.5
NCAA Tournament TV Schedule: CBS
Though there is a heck of a lot of hype that is taking place for the first game here in the Big East between the hated rivals, Louisville Cardinals and Kentucky Wildcats, there might be even more talent on the court for this one. There is a reason that both the Buckeyes and the Jayhawks were favored in their respective Elite Eight games in spite of the fact that they were both running into the No. 1 seeds in their respective brackets.
The crucial matchups in this one are going to be the combo of Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas against the duo of Thomas Robinson and Jeff Withey. Thomas has been unstoppable at times in this tourney. He scored 26 against the Cincinnati Bearcats in the big time Sweet 16 showdown, and he has had at least 14 points and at least nine boards in all of his tourney games. Thomas averaged over 16 points per game during the season, and he has only sat out a total of two minutes in the entire dance. Sullinger battled foul trouble against the Syracuse Orange in the Elite Eight, but he still got his 19 points and seven boards. This is a double-double machine, but it is also a man that hasn’t really run into a man that is bigger than he is. Withey, standing at 7’0″ fits the mold. With 129 blocked shots, including 10 against the NC State Wolfpack in the Sweet 16, Kansas knows that it has a man that can be a real difference maker on the defensive side of the court. The North Carolina Tar Heels have some of the best big men in the game, and Withey had 15 points, eight boards, and three blocks, not to mention the fact that he really played lockdown ‘D’ against any of the bigs that he ran up against defensively. Thomas Robinson is a stud and is capable of a double-double every single time he steps onto the court.
For Kansas, Tyshawn Taylor is going to be key. We know that Aaron Craft and William Buford are going to get their shots, and they are both going to get their points in the end in all likelihood. Taylor was a bit MIA in the first three games of the tourney, but against North Carolina (granted, without Kendall Marshall), he was huge with 22 points, six boards, five assists, and five steals. He clearly needs another game like this one to do away with the Buckeyes.
We will start by saying that we think that the winner of this one is probably winning the whole enchilada. The Jayhawks are a side that looks like is coming together right in front of our eyes, and though we do love this Ohio State team as well, we definitely want the points on our side. KU is winning the close games – the types of games that you have to win in March to be able to cut down the nets at the Final Four, and we just don’t know how the Buckeyes are going to react to a very different situation to anything that they have seen thus far in this tournament. We’ll have the 2.5 points for safety on our side, but we don’t think that we are going to need them.
Final Four Free Pick: Kansas Jayhawks +2.5
Wisconsin vs. Syracuse Projected Final Score: Kansas 70 – Ohio State 63