In the history of college basketball, Kentucky is considered basketball royalty, and rightfully so—what with their total of 51 NCAA tournament appearances, 13 trips to the Final Four, and seven national championships.
Ohio State, however, has a higher success rate (50%) of getting to the Final Four. In their 20 NCAA tournament appearances, the Buckeyes have made it to 10 Final Fours, but have only won one national championship.
In their 71 combined tournament appearances, the Buckeyes and the Wildcats have faced each other five times before tonight's regional match up, with one team winning all five of the previous meetings.
It may surprise even the most astute college basketball fan to learn that Ohio State, not Kentucky, is the owner of that 5-0 record. The games were played in 1945, 1961, 1962, 1968, and 1987.
The only team with more tournament wins over Kentucky is Marquette, who coincidentally, could face the Ohio State-Kentucky winner in the regional final if the Golden Eagles knock off another member of the "men's basketball royal court" in No. 2-seed North Carolina.
While the Buckeyes have previously had Kentucky's number, no Kentucky player was even alive yet the last time the two teams played in 1987, so certainly this trend means nothing for tonight's meeting, right?
Say what you will of trends and how they are meant to be broken, but consider this—No. 1-seed Duke was previously 0-for-4 in the Sweet 16 when playing in the West regional.
In case you missed last night's Duke-Arizona game, the Blue Devils are now 0-for-5 in the Sweet 16 when playing out West.
Kentucky is very young, and albeit very talented, but Ohio State is the true definition of a team. They are as unselfish as they come.
National POY candidate Jared Sullinger, Jon Diebler, David Lighty, and William Buford are all capable of scoring 25-plus on any given night, but none of them seem to care if they do.
All they care about is winning, not personal highlight reels.
All that being said, Kentucky won't be intimidated, well, because they are Kentucky, so this game could end up being one of the best of the entire tourney.
While it's likely to be a back-and-forth close battle—one that could even come down to the final seconds tonight—expect the Buckeyes to push their all-time mark against the Wildcats to 6-0.
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