Critics tried to make a case why the Zags didn’t deserve a No. 1 seed, but what more could Mark Few’s crew do? They played a tough non-conference schedule, lost only twice to ranked teams and went unbeaten in the West Coast Conference.
They also got a boost from a surprise national player of the year candidate. Kelly Olynyk, a 7-foot junior from Canada, blossomed into the WCC player of the year, averaging a team-best 17.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game. Olynyk’s emergence made life easier for fellow All-WCC picks Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos. Harris, a 6-8 senior forward, does the dirty work inside, while Pangos, a sophomore guard, is the team’s best 3-point threat.
The fawning over Aaron Craft is well-deserved, but Ohio State would likely be a .500 team without Deshaun Thomas. The 6-foot-7 forward leads the team in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and is the Buckeyes’ only real offensive threat, averaging 19.6 points per game.
Craft is a terror on defense (2.1 spg), and the senior has carried the team at times this season, but he’s frustrated Ohio State fans with his lack of offensive productivity. The Buckeyes are peaking at the right time, having won their last eight games, and Thad Matta’s teams are prone to deliver in March. The question: Can Ohio State find offense if Deshaun Thomas hits a cold streak in the tourney?
Continue Reading: NCAA tournament capsules: West region (Yahoo! Sports)