Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Michigan St.'s Izzo Likes Ohio State

Siena's first-round NCAA Tournament foe Ohio State knocked off Michigan State, 82-70, in the finals of the Big 10 Tournament on Saturday.

So, it only seems natural that Michigan State coach Tom Izzo thinks the Buckeyes will advance past the Saints in their game Friday night.

"They're a very tough team," said Izzo, about Ohio State, in an interview on ESPN radio Wednesday morning.

"They've been getting better point guard play with Hill (P.J. Hill) in the starting lineup. Turner (swingman Evan Turner) is a very good player. Buford (shooting guard William Buford) is very good ... he's a guy that we recruited. (B.J.) Mullens is 7-foot-1 and he's tough inside.

"Ohio State is a team that can do some damage. The do some things that I really like. They play a zone defense, and if they're playing against a team that doesn't shoot very well, then that really helps them."

Siena isn't terrific from beyond the perimeter. And, Ohio State's tall lineup makes it tough to shoot over its zone.

But, Siena does much of its damage in transition. The Saints, it says here, need to force turnovers and get some points before the Buckeyes set up in their half-court defense.

One last thought, admittedly about 700 miles removed from Friday night's game.

The NCAA Tournament committee did Siena no favors by creating the Saints' matchup with the Buckeyes at Dayton, about 75 miles away from Ohio State's campus.

The contest will assuredly take on all the trappings of being a Buckeyes' home game.

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