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Aaron Craft Has Put Ohio State Buckeyes In Position For NCAA Tourney Success

David Banks – USA TODAY Sports Images

Ohio State was once a team that looked destined for disappointment.

The Buckeyes struggled at times and relied way too much on Deshaun Thomas to lead the way.

But now Ohio State seems to have found a groove, and considering the way it has played down the stretch, you can make a case that the Buckeyes are worthy of a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Part of it has to do with the fact that Thad Matta is a brilliant coach. He knows how to get the most out of his team when it matters most.

This is an Ohio State team that was in the Final Four a year ago, but in a world where it’s all about what-have-you-done-for-me lately, that accomplishment is so easily forgotten.

Part of the Buckeyes’ late-season surge has a lot to do with Aaron Craft as well. He has taken his game to another level and the Buckeyes not only have a shot at the Big Ten tourney title, but they might be good enough to make a run at the national title.

Craft dropped 20 points on Michigan State on Saturday in the semifinal round of the conference tourney as the Buckeyes edged the Spartans 61-58.

”You look at what he’s accomplished thus far in his career at Ohio State and just the wins and the big plays that he’s made – in coaching, you don’t get to coach a lot of guys like him just from A to Z and everything he stands for,” Matta said in a post-game press conference. ”He kind of makes us go on both ends of the floor”

Yes he does. Craft should have been the league’s defensive player of the year. Heck, he has a case for being the conference player of the year.

But individual accolades matter little. Craft is all about winning, and as long he continues to thrive, the Buckeyes will as well.

Brian Lester is a college basketball writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993.