Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ohio State Tops Syracuse, Headed to New Orleans With Eyes on the Final Four Prize

Four of Ohio State's five starters scored 13 or more points — led by Jared Sullinger's 19-point performance despite early foul trouble that limited him to just six minutes and change on the floor in the first half — and the Buckeyes earned a hard-fought 77-70 victory over the Syracuse Orange to advance to their first Final Four since 2007 — the 11th Final Four appearance in school history.

The somewhat surprising performance of the night goes to Lenzelle Smith Jr. who, despite leaving the game briefly after an inadvertent elbow caused a cut over his eye which required stitches, dropped 18 points on the Orange, including a couple of timely 3-pointers and a beautiful raindrop runner just over the outstretched arms of a defender.

Smith has proven to be an unselfish player that doesn't necessarily care about his personal statistics, but who is a guy that can be counted on to step up offensively when needed.

Deshaun Thomas and William Buford were the other starters in double figures, with 14 and 13 respectively.

Next up for the Buckeyes, the UNC-Kansas winner.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves here, but if UNC wins and Ohio State beats them to advance to the title game verses Kentucky, should UK beat Baylor in the other Regional Final, the Buckeyes could potentially knock off three of the tournaments No. 1 seeds en route to a national title.

That being said, my great HS basketball coach once had a motto that still resonates with me today when it comes to basketball, especially tournament basketball:

One Bite At A Time -- Bob Haas, HOF HS basketball coach, Willard HS, Willard, Ohio

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