Ohio State has been a powerhouse in not just basketball, but all collegiate sports for a very long time. Ohio State has alumni that include George Steinbrenner and Bobby Knight. Wichita State is a fine institution of higher learning, however their most famous alumnus may be Xavier McDaniel. This sets up an incredible David and Goliath matchup in the West Regional Final.
Many people were upset when they saw that Wichita St. was matched up against a tough Pittsburgh team in the first round. Pitt appeared to be the strongest team amongst 8th seeds. Wichita St proceeded to beat them easily in the 2nd round. They followed that up against top seeded Gonzaga who they had to battle with, but still came away with the victory. In the sweet 16 they played another “Cinderella” team in La Salle who had produced two big upsets of their own to get there. This is when Wichita State proved that they are not “Cinderella” and that they are in fact one of the best teams in the country with a 72-58 victory that was never in doubt. Malcolm Armstead, who has been great all tournament long, led the team with 18 points to go along with 4 assists. Carl Hall hit big shots all game long en route to his 16 points, while freshman Ron Baker contributed 13. Wichita State consistently pounded the ball inside against a smaller La Salle frontline and wore them out as the game went on. They attempted an astounding 43 shots in the paint outscoring La Salle 40-26 on the interior.
Ohio State and Arizona played a fantastic Sweet 16 game that you knew was going to come down to the final seconds. Arizona got the game in their tempo from the early stages and played extremely well as senior Mark Lyons paced them to a 4 point halftime lead. Ohio State star Aaron Craft sat for a long time with 2 first half fouls, however he returned to spark a 10-0 run in the second half. Star guard Deshaun Thomas had 20 points and played a spectacular al around game. The game came down to a final Ohio St. possession after a frantic closing minute. Craft had the ball at the top of the key similar to the last game in which he won with a late three pointer. This time he found LaQuinton Ross open on the wing and he drilled a game winning shot of his own. He scored 14 of his 17 points in the 2nd half. It was a fantastic college basketball game.
This matchup will be very interesting. Ohio State is a perimeter team while Wichita State likes to get the ball inside. Both teams are inconsistent from behind the arc; however Ohio State has shown the ability to make the big ones. It will be an interesting game that should come down to which team is able to get the game at their pace. If Wichita State can get the ball inside and play a half-court game then they could pull off the upset. If the games tempo increases and guard play dominates then Ohio State will be the dominant team
It’s a guard’s tournament and Ohio State has the better guards. Bottom line is that Craft and Thomas are simply too good and they have been playing like a team of destiny.
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