Almost all of the pre-season and early-season hype has focused on North Carolina and their returning talent and Kentucky and their young core, but Ohio State showed exactly why they should be receiving the attention. Despite being the No. 2 team in the country, the Buckeyes are still being overlooked, with their point guard Aaron Craft leading the way.
Craft, the team's starting sophomore point guard, is the most disruptive force on defense as there is, collecting the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award as a freshman and on pace to repeat this year; he registered just one steal against Duke this week, but his 22 on the year is third in the country and his impact can be felt much deeper than that. He has taken numerous charges and forces other take-aways and creates other turnovers that the simple box score does not credit.
And as much as Craft is defined by his defense, it was his offensive game against Duke that set the tone; he scored a season-high 17 points, five in the opening minutes that sparked an 11-0 run over the Blue Devils. He also had 8 assists (for the third consecutive game), drawing the defense via his penetration and was able to find open shooters on the wing several times and Jared Sullinger down low for easy lay-ins.
He isn't the tallest point guard or the most athletic, and he certainly does not have the brightest NBA future, but Craft is proving he is one of the very best, if not the best, point guard in college basketball right now. He is surrounded by talent, but makes these players even better and that's exactly why Craft could lead Ohio State over the UNC's and UK's of the college game to a national title.