Buckeyes Bound for Beantown

Jody Victor: Here’s some great Buckeye basketball news from osu.edu and OhioStateBuckeyes.com.

Date: March 22, 2012
No. 2 seed Ohio State Buckeyes (29-7) vs. No. 6 seed Cincinnati Bearcats (26-10)
Site: TD Garden (18,624)
Game Time: 9:45 p.m. ET
Television: CBS
Talent: Verne Lundquist (Play by Play)
           Bill Raftery (Expert Analysis)
           Lesley Visser (Sideline)
Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)
Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 AM-1460
Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play)
                    Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

This is Ohio State’s 24th appearance in the NCAA tournament. Overall, Ohio State has a 43-22 record all-time in NCAA tournament play. The Buckeyes have advanced to play in nine Final Fours, have finished as the runner up four times (1939, 1961, 1962, 2007) and own one title (1960). Ohio State has finished third four times (1944, 1945, 1946, 1968). The Buckeyes have played in three-consecutive NCAA “Sweet 16s,” a feat last accomplished from 1960-62. The Buckeyes have made 14 “Sweet 16” appearances in NCAA Tournament play.

The 2012 NCAA Tournament
The  No. 2-seeded Buckeyes entered the 2012 NCAA Tournament after a 2-1 record in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. Thad Matta, in his eighth year as head coach, has taken the Buckeyes to six NCAA tournaments during his time in Columbus, including a title game appearance in 2007.
    Ohio State enters the 2012 NCAA East Regional Semifinal with a 29-7 overall record and as co-champions of the Big Ten with a 13-5 regular season record. Ohio State has won 20 Big Ten titles and is making its 24th appearance in the NCAA tournament.

Late Night with the Buckeyes
The 9:45 p.m. ET tip time vs. Cincinnati Thursday marks the 14th time this season Ohio State tipped at 8:30 p.m. or later. Seven of those contests have been on the road or on a neutral court. The Buckeyes are 11-2 in late night starts, 4-2 away from Columbus.  

The Buckeyes in NCAA 2nd/3rd Games
Four Buckeyes averaged in double figures in the NCAA Second and Third Round wins in Pittsburgh last week. Sophomore Deshaun Thomas averaged 24.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. He connected on 54 percent of his shots from the field (20-37), handed out a pair of assists, blocked four shots and made 5 of 6 foul shots (.833.). William Buford and Jared Sullinger averaged 15 points in the wins and Aaron Craft contributed 12.5 ppg. Sullinger pitched in with 7.5 rebounds and Lenzelle Smith added 6.5 boards a game. Craft was 8 for 11 from the field (.727) and recorded 14 assists and six steals. Sullinger made 9 of 11 foul shots (.818) and Buford made 7 of 8 free throws (.875). The starting unit made 32-38 from the charity stripe (.842).

Thomas, Sullinger Step up in March
In five postseason games this season, Ohio State is 4-1 with the loss coming in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament title game to Michigan State, 68-64. Deshaun Thomas is averaging 20.8 points with Jared Sullinger adding 20.4 points a game. Thomas is making 56 percent of his field goals (43-77). Sullinger is shooting at a 51 percent clip (37-73). Aaron Craft is shooting 59 percent (20-34) to average 10.2 points. William Buford contributes 12.4 ppg. Craft has dished out 29 assists, recorded 3 blocks and has 13 steals. As a team, the Buckeyes are making 75 percent of their foul shots (65-87).

Craft sets Ohio State steals record
With three steals in the win over Gonzaga, Aaron Craft recorded his 88th theft of the season, breaking the record of 87 steals set by Mike Conley Jr. in 2007. Craft has 161 career steals in just two seasons, good for the No. 4 all-time on the career steals chart. Dennis Hopson owns the No. 3 spot with 164. Jay Burson is the career leader with 204 from 1986-89. David Lighty (2007-11) is No. 2 with 191.

Sullinger Selected USBWA All-American
Jared Sullinger was selected by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association as a 2012 First Team All-American, the second-consecutive year the organization selected Sullinger for the honor. Ohio State has had a USBWA first team All-American in each of the last three seasons. Evan Turner was so honored as a junior in 2010.

Ohio State in the 2012 Big Ten Tourney
Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas were named to the 2012 All-Big Tournament Team after leading the Buckeyes to the title game, Ohio State’s fourth-consecutive trip to the championship contest and the sixth in eight years for Thad Matta. Sullinger averaged 24 points and nine rebounds while Thomas contributed 18.3 points and 6.3 boards. Sullinger made 28 of 50 shots from the field (.560) and knocked down 14 of 16 foul shots (.875). Thomas scored on 23 of 40 shots (.575). Aaron Craft recorded 15 assists and seven steals while averaging 8.7 points. Senior William Buford, who played in his fourth title game, averaged 10.7 points.  

Buckeyes vs. Cincinnati
Ohio State is 5-4 in the all-time series vs. Cincinnati. The Buckeyes won the most recent meeting 72-50 Dec. 16, 2006 in the 2006 Wooden Tradition. That game was played on a neutral court in Indianapolis. The Bearcats own two wins vs. the Buckeyes in NCAA tournament play, both in the NCAA title game in 1961 and 1962.

Jody Victor