There might not be a better matchup to watch this year than Thomas Robinson squaring off against Jared Sullinger when Robinson's Kansas Jayhawks host Sullinger's Ohio St. Buckeyes Saturday in Lawrence. That is, if the matchup of the top two leaders on CBS Sports' Player of the Year watch list happens.
Going into the game, Sullinger is averaging 19.1 ppg while pulling down 10.3 rebounds a game. Robinson is right there with him, averaging 17.4 ppg and 12 rpg. So, while every college basketball fan would love to see these two bang the boards, the real key to this matchup may be Sullinger's back.
The 6-9 sophomore All-American missed the Buckeyes last game with back spasms, but according to OSU head coach, Thad Matta, Sullinger may be ready to play Saturday. "It's kind of on him, just sort of how he feels," Matta told the AP.
With Sullinger, second-ranked Ohio State has one of the best teams in the country, and will give Kansas its third meeting against top ten schools this season, after losses to the then #2 Kentucky Wildcats and the then #6 Duke Blue Devils. Ironically it was after Duke beat Kansas to win the Maui Invitational that they traveled to Columbus and got blown out by OSU, in a game where Sullinger led the team in points and rebounds, but got great supporting effort from the Buckeyes lesser-known (nationally) heroes.
Assuming Sullinger plays, for KU to win they need to a combination of Robinson and Jeff Withey to limit his touches. Duke doesn't have a physical big man like T-Rob, so his presence should challenge Sullinger. Also, Tyshawn Taylor will need to keep the crafty (eh?) Craft in front of him. Though he doesn't look like it, Craft is a wiry, speedy guard and deceptively blows past defenders with ease.
This is a must watch game for any college basketball fan and can be seen on Saturday at 2:15 p.m. CST on ESPN.