The six ranked Ohio State Buckeyes will take on the number seven ranked North Carolina Tarheels tomorrow night in Chapel Hill. The Buckeyes will take on their first ranked opponent since beating the Villanova Wildcats on November 13. The Buckeyes sit at 7-0, while the Tarheels are 6-1.
Led by Kaleb Wesson and D.J. Carton, the Buckeyes will face another strong Tarheel team coached by Roy Williams. So far, the Buckeyes have played completely different than years past. If they continue this play, they could have a shot at their deepest March Madness run in years.
Keys to Winning
- The biggest key for the Buckeyes is to slow down Cole Anthony. Anthony has by far been the Tarheels’ best player. They won’t be able to shut him down completely without a miracle, but if they contain him they’ll have a much better shot at winning the game.
- Ohio State is going to have to embrace being the underdog. North Carolina with one loss is still favored over the undefeated Buckeyes. Ohio State is going to be considered an underdog for a while, I’d expect. They are going to be a very slept on team this year. The Buckeyes will need to play as if they’re down by ten points for the whole game.
- Be smart on defense! We know that Roy Williams is going to have his team playing smart and disciplined. Ohio State has to be locked in all forty minutes and going all out every possession.
- OSU needs to keep Armando Bacot off of the boards. He thrives inside and grabs nearly ten rebounds a game, including nearly four offensive boards a game. The Buckeyes should have four or five guys going after every defensive rebound rather than being too aggressive on the fast break.
- The final major key for Ohio State is to be disciplined and limit turnovers. They’ll have to match the smart play of the Tarheels to stay in the game.
This, so far, is the Buckeyes’ biggest test of the year. Being only the second ranked opponent they’ve faced this year, North Carolina will give them some good preparation for March Madness. Chapel Hill is going to be a tough environment to win in, but it is an outstanding opportunity for OSU. With three other teams from the Big Ten ranked in the top ten, Ohio State has their work cut out for them to prove they are a top conference team.
I’ve got confidence in this team to win against North Carolina. It’s going to be a very close game, I’d bet, but I’ll take the Buckeyes over the Tarheels 82-77.
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