NCAA Final Four Free Picks: Ohio State Buckeyes vs Kansas Jayhawks
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
by Mike Stewart
Namely Buckeyes star Jared Sullinger, but both teams will be at full strength for the rematch Saturday in New Orleans.
Ohio State Buckeyes (31-7): The Buckeyes are in their 10th Final Four and are seeking their second title -- and their first since 1960 -- after a 77-70 win over No. 1 seed Syracuse on Saturday. They're certainly peaking at the right time to win it. After losing three of five during a rough stretch in February, the Buckeyes have won eight of nine, with the loss coming in the Big Ten tournament final against Michigan State. Five Buckeyes have averaged double-digits in the tournament, led by Thomas' 21.8 points to go with 8.5 rebounds per game.
Kansas Jayhawks (31-6): The Jayhawks advanced to their 14th Final Four with an 80-67 win over No. 1 seed North Carolina on Sunday. It's the Jayhawks' second trip to the Final Four under coach Bill Self, who led them to the 2008 national title. Robinson led the Jayhawks with 21 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting, but he almost certainly will see a different defensive look from the Buckeyes with Sullinger in the lineup. Perhaps more important to the Jayhawks, though, is whether senior point guard Tyshawn Taylor can give a more consistent performance than in the first meeting -- he had nine points and 13 assists, but also seven turnovers, in the victory in December.
1. The Jayhawks have won six of nine all-time meetings, including four straight.
2. Both teams have come to expect double-doubles from their star forwards. Robinson has set a Kansas record with 26 this season, and Sullinger is 10th all-time at Ohio State with 34 in his career.
3. Kansas has won 13 of 14 to reach the 30-win plateau for the third straight year and the fifth time in six seasons.
NCAA BASKETBALL PREDICTION: Ohio State 75, Kansas 69.
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