Ohio State vs. Kansas Final Four Game Notes

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

No. 2 seed Ohio State (31-7) vs. No. 2 seed Kansas (31-6)
National Semifinal
Date: Saturday, March 31 – 8:50 p.m. ET
Site: New Orleans, La., Mercedes-Benz Superdome (74,400)
Television: CBS Jim Nantz (Play by Play), Clark Kellogg (Expert Analysis), Steve Kerr (expert analysis), Tracy Wolfson (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)

Ohio State and The NCAA Tournament
This is Ohio State’s 24th appearance in the NCAA tournament. Overall, Ohio State has a 45-22 record all-time in NCAA tournament play. The Buckeyes have advanced to play in 10 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. Ohio State has made 14 “Sweet 16” appearances in NCAA Tournament play and has 11 “Elite Eight” appearances.

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 Final Four with a 31-7 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.

Ohio State vs. Kansas
Ohio State is 3-5 against Kansas all-time. The Buckeyes last played Kansas Dec. 10, 2011 in Lawrence. That game pitted a pair of ranked teams with No. 2 Ohio State falling to the No. 13 Jayhawks 78-67. The Buckeyes are 18-21 all-time vs. teams representing the current alignment of Big 12 teams. Only Baylor has never faced the Buckeyes previously.

Last Time vs. Kansas
No. 13 Kansas 78, No. 2 Ohio State 67
Dec. 10, 2011, Lawrence, Kan.
Thomas Robinson scored 21 points, Elijah Johnson added 15 and No. 13 Kansas never trailed in a 78-67 victory over second-ranked Ohio State, which played without forward Jared Sullinger, who was out with back spasms. KU freshman forward Kevin Young came off the bench to score a career-high 14 points and Tyshawn Taylor had nine points and a career-best 13 assists for the Jayhawks. William Buford had 17 of his 21 points in the second half for Ohio State, which was playing on the road for the first time this season. Deshaun Thomas added 19 points. The Buckeyes were missing Sullinger, a preseason All-American, for the second straight game. It was a big loss for the Buckeyes. Not only, at the time,  did Sullinger average better than 19 points and 10 rebounds, he also would have been tasked with guarding Robinson, another All-America candidate. Robinson was quiet much of the first half, but he came through down the stretch, scoring 10 of his points in the final four minutes to help wrap up the win. Kansas wound up shooting 58.3 percent from the field, while the Buckeyes made 39 percent.

Late Nights with the Buckeyes
The 8:50 p.m. ET tip time vs. Kansas Saturday marks the 15th time this season Ohio State tipped at 8:30 p.m. or later. Eight of those contests have been on the road or on a neutral court. The Buckeyes are 12-2 in late night starts, 5-2 away from Columbus heading into the Final Four.  

Buckeyes in the 2012 NCAA Tournament
Five Buckeyes average in double figures in the four wins in NCAA tournament play this year. Sophomore Deshaun Thomas averages 21.8 points and 8.5 rebounds. He has connected on 52 percent of his shots from the field (35-67), blocked five shots and has made 10 of 12 foul shots (.833). Jared Sullinger averages 18 points in the four NCAA wins while adding 8.3 rebounds. William Buford contributes 11.8 points while Lenzelle Smith Jr. (11.3 ppg) and Aaron Craft (10.3 ppg) also contribute double-figure scoring. Craft has handed out 23 assists and recorded 13 steals while scoring on 52 percent of his shots (11-21). Smith  has picked up his offensive game as well with 7 of 15 accuracy from 3-point range (.467) and 14 of 26 shooting overall (.538). He also has knocked down 10 of 14 foul shots (.714).

Thomas, Sullinger Step up in March
In six postseason games this season, Ohio State is 6-1 with the loss coming in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament title game to Michigan State, 68-64. Deshaun Thomas is averaging 20.3 points with Jared Sullinger adding 21.8 points a game. Thomas is making 54 percent of his field goals (58-107). Sullinger is shooting at a 52 percent clip (49-95). William Buford contributes 11.3 ppg. Aaron Craft has dished out 38 assists, recorded 3 blocks and has 20 steals. As a team, the Buckeyes are making 74 percent of their foul shots (115-156).

Craft Sets Ohio State Steals Record
With three steals in the third-round 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 168 career steals in just two seasons, good for No. 3 all-time on the career steals chart. Jay Burson is the career leader with 204 from 1986-89. David Lighty (2007-11) is No. 2 with 191.

Sullinger selected 2012 AP All-American
Jared Sullinger was named a 2012 Associated Press First Team All-American, the organization announced March 26. Sullinger was selected a first team honoree as a freshman as well. Ohio State has had a member of the AP first team in each of the last three seasons. Evan Turner was so honored in 2010.

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.

Go Bucks!!!

Jody Victor