ELIMINATED - Why the Ohio State Buckeyes will win the 2011 NCAA Basketball National Championship - and why they wont

Can the super rookie be their savior?

Ohio State is far from a dark-horse team to win the National Championship. With magnificent performances from their rookie, Jared Sullinger, the team looks nearly perfect. In fact, the Buckeyes are tied with Kansas(30-2) and San Diego State (30-2), for the best record in the country. The only real question going into the tournament is who, if anyone, will stop them?

I really have to be honest and say that I am more of an ACC specialist. Being from North Carolina, I almost have to be. That isn't going to stop me from writing this series of the top NCAA teams and their strengths and weaknesses. Something else that I have to admit is that their really aren't many flat-out weaknesses in the Buckeyes' team or play. I will start with a few positives and then give a couple negatives. These may not be the only areas of strength and weakness. However, it is my opinion that these areas are important to tournament success.

The first positive is the play of super-frosh Jared Sullinger. His play has been phenomenal and it is possible that the team could be carried to the finals, solely on his shoulders. Sullinger has tallied 17.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game (not including his 20 pt./18 reb. game against NW). He has also been able to score 19+ points in 14 different games, as well as amounting 10+ rebounds 16 different times. With this comes 15 double-doubles. He is an important part of the team and could lead them to a trophy run.

The next big-time positive is their field- goal percentage. It is had to beat a team that makes one of every two shots they shoot, meaning their field-goal percentage is a stunning 50 percent. This number may seem like a minuscule number to some, who aren't as familiar to sports. Imagine that every time you did anything you had a 50-50 chance. I'd take those odds. 50 percent is good enough to place them at 2nd in the country, behind Kansas (51.2%). Shooting lights out could be another way the Buckeyes could cut down the nets.

My last positive point is that Ohio State has a solid mix of seniors and freshman. Seniors Jon Diebler (35 min. pg), David Lighty (32 mpg), and Dallas Lauderdale (17 mpg) has become a solid balance to the freshman players like Jared Sullinger (31.2 mpg), Aaron Craft (29.1 mpg) and Deshaun Thomas (14.5 mpg). This seems irrelevant but leads to a team with great senior leadership and raw, young talent. Senior leadership and freshman raw talent makes a deep run possible, easily.

Now for the dark side of my list. The negatives, which are very few for the Buckeyes.

The first negative comes from the fact that they shoot so well. It is rebounding. The Buckeyes are currently ranked 229th in rebounding, with 34 per game. This means that if it comes down to a rebounding battle, they may not win. Right now there are teams like North Carolina and Texas, both averaging 40+ boards per game, or even further Pittsburgh and Kansas, with 38+ rebounds per. Rebounds are sometimes overlooked, but think of it this way: Every rebound your team has equals another opportunity for them to score, which means it takes away an opportunity from the other team. Bad rebounding could lead to a loss when the scrubs are gone and only the big boys remain in the tourney.

The only other negative I see is this: what happens if Sullinger's shots aren't falling? I am not saying that they are a one man team, but Sullinger is important. The ability to step-up will have to be spread around and you can't depend on the same 3 or 4 guys to score all of your points. Their top four players has scored 12.3 + per game, but beyond that no one is scoring more than 8 ppg. This isn't an extreme weakness, but if one main scorer is out the game will start to narrow for the other team. This could be a possible concern.

Now for a quick review, in case you just skipped to the bottom:

Reasons they win:

  • Jared Sullinger's amazing season.
  • The high field-goal percentage they shoot.
  • A solid mix of leaders and young talent.

Reasons they fall short:

  • Lack of team rebounding.
  • Some concern about scoring past the top three or four.

This is not a prediction of any outcome. I will be posting a few other possible teams that could win it all in a similar fashion. Up next will be: the Kansas Jayhawks. If you have any questions, comments, or would like to suggest a team for me to do a similar evaluation message me or comment below. Thank you

Also check out my thoughts on the North Carolina Tarheels here:


And the Duke Blue Devils here:


And the Kansas Jayhawks here:

Why the Kansas Jayhawks will win the 2011 NCAA Basketball National Championship-and why they wont


How will the Ohio State Buckeyes finish the season?

  • 63% Tournament champions
  • 7% Runner-ups, lose in the championship game
  • 20% Final Four appearance
  • 4% Elite Eight appearance
  • 4% Sweet Sixteen appearance
  • 2% No further than the round of 32
101 people have voted in this poll.

This poll is now closed to voting.

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Comments 6 comments

Todd228 5 years ago

Nice post. I am am Ohio State homer but I do see one other weakness...depth. If Sullinger gets into foul trouble against a team with a decent front line it could get dicey. Having said that, I think they will take it all. Watch Craft...he's a lockdown point guard. His footwork on defense is as good as it gets! And Three-bler is pretty good too!

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dwayne1240 5 years ago Author

I see what you mean Todd. It reminds me a little of the UNC situation, where they only have 8 scholarship players. Sullinger, Craft, and Diebler are amazing. With Dieblers three point showcase of late, he has earned that nickname (Three-bler).

stantmann 5 years ago

Nice article - However, as you pointed out, rebounding is not as high because they shoot so well. and also because they don't turn the ball over (hence less opportunities). REBOUND MARGIN is the true stat. The Buckeyes are a plus 4.4 (around 40th), not too far behind UNC/TX/Kansas/Pitt which are 6.5/6.8/7.7/10.4. Pitt is 2nd in the nation in margin.

Again, very nice writeup!!!

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dwayne1240 5 years ago Author

Thank you stantmann. Yes rebound margin is a very important stat. I believe that that and turnover margin are two of the most important stats. Thank you for the comment.

Husky1970 5 years ago

Nice summary of a great team and the tournament's overall #1. Jared Sullinger demonstrates a maturity level beyond that of a freshman. Thad Motta can coach and he does have a nice mix of veterans and youth. The Buckeyes will be tough to beat. I am also an ACC man, as you can probably surmise from my profile picture and the hubs I have written. I think you have been very fair in your assessments of OSU and Kansas. Nice job!

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dwayne1240 5 years ago Author

Thanks again Husky. I'll try to give your blogs a few looks as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!

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