Can the Ohio State Buckeyes make a run to the Final Four?


Aaron Craft is an overall good player for Ohio State, but the way he plays defense has had the nation’s attention since the first time he stepped on the floor in Columbus. This is also a big reason why the Buckeyes could make the Final Four.

Final FourCraft’s D isn’t just solid to the naked eye; the advanced stats back it up. He’s allowing just 0.655 points per play on the defensive side of the ball, according to Synergy Sports Technology, which is excellent.

But as ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla writes, the OSU junior came on strong offensively in the latter part of the season, helping make him one of the top 10 impact players heading into the NCAA tournament.

Our John Gasaway wrote today about where Ohio State was in mid-February and where they are now, on the eve of their first tournament game against Iona. As expected, a Buckeye team now seeded on the 2 line, up from the 5 line it was projected on a month ago, has improved largely on the strength of their defense.

Thad Matta’s team has reeled off eight wins in a row since a 22-point road loss to Wisconsin on February 17th and Ohio State’s ascent to title contender has come off a greater commitment to the defensive end. However, during that eight game stretch, it’s important to note that the Buckeyes committed turnovers on only 15 percent of possessions, a mark well below the national average of 20 percent. Holding onto the ball and playing stingy D is why the folks in Columbus should feel good about a second straight Final Four for Ohio State. Here’s Gasaway with more specifics on how Ohio State turned the corner. The Ohio State Buckeyes are one of the top seeds looking to make it to the final four this 2013 season.


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