Eight months ago, Ohio State’s men’s basketball team left the floor in New Orleans after a 64-62 loss to Kansas in the Final Four knowing that it gave one away.
There is no doubt about it, since that game on March 31, Ohio State has been looking forward to its rematch with the Jayhawks on Saturday.
Jared Sullinger and William Buford are gone for the Buckeyes, Thomas Robinson and Tyshawn Taylor for the Jayhawks. But what remains are a core of Ohio State players who want nothing more than to stick it to the team that ended its chance for a national championship.
Kansas is one of the all-time great college basketball programs. It is right up there with Kentucky, Duke, North Carolina and Indiana. Historically, Ohio State may not be on that level, but the Buckeyes can hold their own. Let’s take a look at the tale of the tape between these two top ten teams:
|All Time Wins||1,529 (36th)||2,070 (2nd)|
|National Championships||1 (1960)||3 (1952, 1988, 2008)|
|Program’s Leading Scorer||Dennis Hopson (2,096)||Danny Manning (2,951)|
Kansas will come into its game against the Buckeyes with a 9-1 record on the season with its only loss being a three point defeat on a neutral floor to Michigan State.
Freshman guard Ben McLemore leads the Jayhawks in scoring this year with 15.9 points per game. He wasn’t a part of that Kansas team a year ago that fell to Kentucky in the national championship game.
Someone who was, though, was center Jeff Withey. The seven footer is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds on the year to go along with 5.4 blocks per game.
He’s a dominant interior defender, so Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams’ ability to neutralize the play of Withey will be a huge key for Ohio State. Ravenel has played great of late, so he could wind up having a huge impact on this game.
Two great college basketball programs playing in a hostile environment. A little bit of revenge will be on the minds of all Buckeye fans.
Is this March already?