Ohio State is one of the best shooting teams in the country as the Buckeyes shoot a combined 49.4 percent from the field, good for third in the country. It doesn’t hurt when their best player, Jared Sullinger has tremendous discipline with his shooting, hitting 53.6 percent of his shots, and their sharpshooter, Jon Diebler, leads the nation in 3-point shooting (102-204 from downtown).
This year, though, I am struggling to make my picks. In fact, I can’t even get past the first round. There are too many intriguing games and, while bad for my bracket, that’s great news for Gus Johnson and the heart-wrenching drama that makes March Madness the best few weeks of the year. Let’s take a look at two of the best first round matchups.
Coming off a tough loss to Connecticut in the semifinals of the Big East tournament, Syracuse landed a No. 3 seed in the East Region of the NCAA tournament. Sound familiar? The year was 2003, and three weeks after receiving this draw the Orangemen hoisted their first national championship trophy. To see whether the 2011 Orange can repeat the feat, let’s keep in mind what it takes to beat them. The conventional wisdom says the biggest key to beating Syracuse is sinking 3s. In Syracuse’s five regular-season losses this year, their opponents shot 47 percent from beyond the arc. This compares with the 31 three-point percent that Syracuse held its opponents to overall, good for 25th best in the country.