Commentary

Ohio State's formula for success

Updated: December 7, 2011, 10:52 AM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

In the game of college basketball, to win a national championship, you have to be efficient in three areas of the floor. To cut down the nets, you have to be effective at the point guard slot, on the wing and the post.

When you look at Ohio State, they have big-time answers in all three of those areas.

The formula for success with the Buckeyes includes Aaron Craft at the point. He has become a solid handler and distributor, as well as a defensive dynamo. Craft creates havoc for opponents and he also can hit the big shots on the perimeter. He is an all-around PTP'er in the backcourt.

Ohio State has a wing player that is as good as anyone in America in that position in William Buford. He is a prolific scorer who can attack the basket and also shoot the trifecta. Buford is also outstanding in transition, able to pass or convert for a score during the fast break.

Then you look in the middle, you have the best player in the three-second area in America in Jared Sullinger. He is a quality person off of the court. On it, he is physical, strong, mobile ... he has all of the parts. Basketball efficiency on both ends of the court really starts in the middle. Sullinger brings so much to the table.

They have even more than those three vital parts of the equation. DeShaun Thomas is a scorer who has been a bigger factor this season. Lenzelle Smith Jr. is super n the defensive end.

The Buckeyes have a successful leader in coach Thad Matta. He has won at least 20 games in every season he has served as a collegiate head coach. Ohio State has won or shared four Big Ten titles over the last seven seasons, an impressive nugget. He would love to add a national championship to his resume.

The fans in Columbus have already been treated to super basketball. The Buckeyes have passed big tests in wins over Florida and Duke. Only three of the first eight opponents have scored over 50 points against Ohio State.

Matta and his team will have a real test in its first game out of Columbus this weekend. I cannot wait to see Ohio State play in Lawrence, Kansas against the Jayhawks. What a showdown between Sullinger and Thomas Robinson! You know Bill Self's team will take its best shot at taking the Buckeyes from the unbeaten ranks.

Watch out for Ohio State. This weekend will give an indication of things to come. This Buckeyes team is a legitimate contender to cut down the nets in New Orleans.

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.