In a season that started with much hype over Duke and Kansas State, Ohio State has been number one in The Power Rank college basketball rankings all season. With their 28 point win over Wisconsin, the Buckeyes solidified their top ranking and moved 3.5 points clear of second ranked Kansas. They look like a clear favorite to win the tournament this year.
However, let’s not hand Ohio State the championship just yet. Ohio State blew out Wisconsin by making 14 of 15 three point shots, an unbelievable shooting display. Let’s take the best jump shooter in the game, Ray Allen of the Boston Celtics. It would be remarkable if he hit 14 of 15 uncontested college range three point shots. Ohio State isn’t going to shoot that well in a game again. While their rating was 1.6 above that of the second place team a week ago, this difference shot up to 3.5 points after the Wisconsin game. Don’t be surprised if this margin shrinks as the Buckeyes move through the Big Ten tournament.
Also, Ohio State starts two freshmen, big man Jared Sullinger and point guard Aaron Craft. While Sullinger has received all kinds of national attention, Craft has been similarly impressive as a tough defender and pass first attacker. But March can be tough for freshman. Look for how Sullinger’s fitness holds up late in games. While a 6-8, 280 pound frame is perfect for maintaining an internal temperature in a frigid football game, it’s a detriment under the hot lights of March Madness. Big men on the court have a difficult time with fitness because they don’t dissipate heat well. It’s the same principle that allowed a 5-4, 112 pound Kenyan named Sammy Wanjiru to run away with the last Olympic marathon.
Ohio State is a fantastic team that deserves our number one ranking. And Sullinger may dominate on their way to the Final Four despite averaging 31 minutes a game. But like all teams, they still have some questions to answer.