The first matchup of the East Regional in the Sweet 16 is set. Ohio St. dismantled the George Mason Patriots to move onto the next round in Newark. Their next opponent should test them quite a bit--John Calipari's athletic Kentucky squad, which eliminated West Virginia in the second round.
Let's take a brief look at each squad.
Ken Pomeroy says ... 2nd best offense, 7th best defense, slow tempo (246th). Great shooting offense (both top ten with regards to two pointers and three pointers). Strong rebounding squad, particularly on the defensive end (solid on the offensive end too). Excellent at forcing the opponent to taking jump shots. Great ball handling team that is good at forcing turnovers.
The weaknesses of Ohio State are being an average shooting defense; their specialty is keeping teams away from the foul line, but their defensive percentages are pretty weak. Also, they're not a particularly deep team, going only six men deep.
Ken Pomeroy says ... 7th best offense, 24th best defense, average tempo (193rd). Great shooting offense (particularly with the three point shot) and great shooting defense (particularly with the two point shot). Pretty good rebounding on both sides. Excellent at holding onto the ball, excellent three point shooting offense and strong two point shooting defense. Good at getting blocks.
The biggest weakness with Kentucky is they're an average rebounding squad, which could cause them trouble against big and strong teams. Also, they're young yet again. Famed procurer of one-and-done talent John Calipari had to replace almost all of his entire starting lineup, leaving him with three starting frosh carrying the load this season. Youth don't usually win national championships, no matter how talented their lineup is. And this is a thin team that doesn't have much to turn to if the frosh suffer.
Prediction: If Ohio State is to lose, it's going to be to a team with a strong rotation that can wear down the Buckeye starters and/or get them into foul trouble. Kentucky does not look like that team, as they do not force the issue and get to the line. Unless they hit their threes all game long, this is looking like an Ohio State victory, although it's far from a given.