Here’s how Kansas and Ohio State match up in one of the Final Four games Saturday in New Orleans.
SCOUTING REPORT: Ohio State’s 78-67 loss at Kansas on Dec. 10 comes with a huge asterisk because the Buckeyes’ best player, Jared Sullinger, missed the game due to back spasms. Sullinger has made 27 free throws in four NCAA tournament games, the most of any player in the field. Sullinger’s inside matchup with Kansas’ Thomas Robinson may require a boxing judge and a cut man. Kansas wants to run more than Ohio State, a half court team. On defense, Buckeyes’ guard Aaron Craft is a great on-ball defender. Kansas played mostly man-to-man in the regular season but has effectively used a triangle-and-two zone defense at key moments to win close NCAA games. Kansas really hadn’t played that well in three NCAA wins, two by a total of six points, and got to play North Carolina minus star guard Kendall Marshall.
KEY TO THE GAME: The question is whether Kansas star guard Tyshawn Taylor and Ohio State guard William Buford can play like stars. Taylor broke out of his scoring slump with 22 points in the regional final win over North Carolina but is 0-for-17 from three-point range in the tournament. Buford has not shot more than 50% in any of Ohio State’s four NCAA wins and has made only 13 of 44 attempts in the tournament. Buford, who is Ohio State’s fourth all-time leading scorer, was 4-for-20 in the Boston regional.