Commentary

GMU's D could stop Jared Sullinger

Patriots' D is perfectly suited to pull off the upset against the Buckeyes

Updated: March 20, 2011, 10:07 AM ET
By Matt Giles | ESPN Insider
Mike MorrisonGregory Shamus/Getty ImagesMike Morrison's post defense will be critical in defending Ohio State's Jared Sullinger.

In an exciting 8-9 game on Friday, the George Mason Patriots were able to withstand the first-half 3-point barrage of Villanova Wildcats Corey Fisher and Corey Stokes to advance to the third round. There, the Patriots find themselves in the (unenviable) position of trying to slow down the Ohio State Buckeyes.

And here's where things could get really interesting. While it will certainly take a supreme defensive effort to stop one of the nation's most efficient offenses (1.15 points per possession in Big Ten play, per John Gasaway), George Mason has a defensive profile that matches up very well with the Buckeyes' offensive strategy. In fact, George Mason will be the best defensive opponent that Ohio State has faced all season (.91 OPPP in Colonial Athletic Association play), and as a result, the Patriots have a legitimate chance of upsetting the tournament's top overall seed on Sunday.