Mark Titus on Why Ohio State Has a Chance to Become NCAA Champion

By Jason Priestas on March 13, 2013 at 6:42p
Ohio State has what it takes to make a run. They could also burp out early.

Mark Titus, our favorite power ranker of NCAA basketball matters, takes a buy-sell approach to his top 12 teams this week for Grantland. On the Buckeyes, who Titus has as his No. 3 team, they'll go far if they can help Deshaun and continue to play great defense:

For most of the season, only one of these things has happened at a time, but recently everything has been clicking. The Buckeyes are the hottest Power Six conference team in America, and they should use that momentum to snag their first national title in more than 50 years.

And why you should expect an early exit:

Ohio State is going home early because of everything I said in the last paragraph. I mean, just think about everything it needs to have go right.

And that is a perfectly reasonable scouting report for this team.


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AndyVance's picture

He's right on the money (as expected, I suppose). For the middle part of the season we were buffeted by "if it can go wrong, it will" when it came to a second scoring option and all hands on deck playing up to the level of their competition.
These past five games, however, have me convinced that something has clicked with these guys, and that they're finding the mojo they need to take care of business this weekend and make a run in the big tourney that I previously didn't think was all that likely.
I'm choosing, in other words, to be optimistic, and "trust in Thad."

TMargo's picture

Yes!!  Glad to have you on the Thad Train......It's understandable and at times appropriate to question our coaches strategies during the course of a long season.  But at this time of the year it's just so much more enjoyable to dive in, drink the Kool-Aid, and cheer on a memorable run!!
Go Bucks!!

sharks's picture

Mr. Rainmaker himself.

A man got to have a code...

Man of Scarlet and Gray's picture

The only problem we'll have is guarding a great inside presence like Withey or Plumlee. Luckily few college teams have that kind of power in the paint, Miami, and Louisville would be  tough draws for us as well.

 "I like to believe that my best hits border on felonious assault."
--Jack Tatum

dubjayfootball90's picture

boy am i excited for these two tourney's to really get under way man (B1G and NCAA)

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

Poison nuts's picture

As for Titus's observations, he's on to something in both directions. I personally will not be surprised at all should this team pull of off something many of us would deem as miraculous...he's right, they would need to do everything right - no mistakes - but I think they've shown everyone during this recent run that they can play with anyone & win. Without another team out there that's just clearly better than everyone else, I am prepared for good things to unfold soon.
One more thing & this may sound weird, but I would almost prefer they they don't win the B1G tourney...I have my logic for saying this - I'd like to see them go into the NCAA tourney with a massive chip on their shoulder. A close loss in the B1G tourney championship might just give them an edge to go on another big run... Where as winning the B1G tournament could lead to a case of over-confidence. Seems they play best when under estimated & people thinking they just can't win when it matters. Regardless, count me in as confident in this teams ability to beat any team on any given night. GO BUCKS!!!

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

DetroitBuckeye's picture

Interesting thoughts on the B1G tourney, that's what happened last year when we lost to MSU.  I felt like it positively impacted the final four runs that the bucks went on.  I do hope that we win the tourney though even if it might now leave the same chip.

BucksfanXC's picture

I've always thought that way too. I know teams say momentum is unquantafiable BS, but I think the chip on your shoulder/wake-up call of an early exit in the conference tourney can rally the team. Give them the final taste of a loss and the push they need to pull it all together.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Poison nuts's picture

Yessir - we're on the same page for sure..

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

AJW_16's picture

As an aside, I like the fact that he took a footnote to rip into ESPN's power rankings. I don't know what the authors of that feature smoke, but it is routinely terrible.

"Sometimes you eat the bear and sometimes the bear eats you." 

RollBucks's picture

While he has been right that everything has seemed to break our way lately, I feel like a lot of that has to do with our increased defensive pressure, specifically our defenders on the wing forcing the action. They are making opposing ballhandlers uncomfortable which leads to turnovers or bad shots late in the shot clock. If the D has a chance to get set up you see an opposing team rarely get a good shot before the 10 second mark.
The second big adjustment that has really helped us out is Aaron Craft's willingness to take it to the basket and finish. He is taking and making a much larger percentage of shots right at the rim that in the past he would not be putting up. He is rarely settling for the mid range jumper, but more importantly he is shooting which has not always been the case even early in the season. I think he needs 8-9 shots a game minimum, because even when he misses he is drawing bigs with his penetration leading to easy put backs by our bigs.

Roll with it.

Jack Fu's picture

The offense is limited, rarely going over 1.05 points per possession in any given game. That's slightly above average. It all comes down to how well they defend. If they play their best defense, they can play with anybody. If they don't, games like the first Indiana game and second Wisconsin game can happen. In March, anything is possible, positive or negative. They could lose in the second round; they could get to the final four. Just enjoy the games, 'cause after this, there's precious little to keep our attention until August...

Jack Fu's picture

American cricket? Good for a fantasy draft or two. Not much else.

Donny T's picture

Can the Bucks play well, or great, 6 games in a row in the tourney? I think that is the overriding question. The team has had a few awesome games, mixed with real stinkers. The notion that a different player (along with Thomas) will step up to score for each of those six games is really not a winning scenario, no matter how well the defense plays.
At this point in the season, it looks like a streak hinges on Craft's ability to keep scoring at a decent pace and the ability of he and Scott to play together and create havoc on defense. We know now that Lenzelle comes and goes on offense, as does Thompson, Ross, etc. and that Rav and Williams could either play out of their minds on D or just disappear.