Can Arizona slow OSU's Thomas?

Breaking down key matchups for Thursday's Sweet 16 games

Updated: March 28, 2013, 10:43 AM ET
By Jay Bilas | ESPN Insider
Deshaun ThomasGreg Bartram/USA TODAY SportsStopping Deshaun Thomas will be a priority for Arizona.

We've got four good Sweet 16 games on the slate for Thursday, and I've broken down the key individual and unit matchups for each one.

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes versus No. 6 Arizona Wildcats

• Can Arizona slow down Deshaun Thomas?
Thomas is a big-time scorer and a special offensive player. The lefty is versatile and hungry, and it all starts with his 3-point shooting. Thomas loves to pick and pop, and he gets open 3s off offensive rebounds, which can be really deflating for his opponents. He usually gets into the post off a screen by Aaron Craft or another guard, and he has a good turnaround jumper and jump hook over his right shoulder.

The keys to slowing down Thomas -- because stopping him is not a goal to be realized -- are to take away his 3-point shots, to not foul him and allow him free throws and to force him into difficult and challenged 2-point shots.

And, as with most scorers, you have to make him guard on the defensive end. By making him defend, you might be able to wear him down just enough to affect his offensive game, and get him a few fouls, which can affect the outcome of the game. Thomas is not a great defender and when he stands up, his matchup needs to cut and take advantage of it.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst