March 31, 2012

Know Your Foe: Kansas

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2012 NCAA Tournament National Semifinal

Opponent: No. 2 seed Kansas Jayhawks (31-6)

Date: March 22

Game Time: 8:50 p.m. EST

Site: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (74,400)

Television: CBS

TV Talent: Jim Nantz (Play by Play), Clark Kellogg (Expert Analysis), Steve Kerr (Expert Analysis), Tracy Wolfson (Sideline)

Radio: OSU-IMG Sports Network (56 stations)

Satellite Radio: Sirius-TBA, XM-TBA

Local Radio: WBNS FM-97.1 and AM-1460 The Fan

Radio Talent: Paul Keels (play-by-play) and Ron Stokes (expert analysis)

How they got here

No. 2 seed Ohio State beat 15th-seeded Loyola (Md.), seventh-seeded Gonzaga, sixth-seeded Cincinnati and top-seeded Syracuse to advance to the program's 11th Final Four.

The Buckeyes are 31-7 overall and finished 13-5 in the Big Ten, good for a share of the conference title with Michigan State and Michigan. It marked OSU's 20th Big Ten championship and third straight. Ohio State also reached the conference tournament championship game but lost to the Spartans.

Kansas, also a two seed, defeated No. 15 seed Detroit, No. 10 seed Purdue, No. 11 seed North Carolina State and No. 1 seed North Carolina en route to the school's 14th appearance in the Final Four.

Kansas finished 16-0 at home, including a victory over Ohio State in December, en route to its third straight 30-win season and fifth in six years. The Jayhawks tallied a 16-2 record in the Big XII to win the regular season title for an unprecedented eighth consecutive season.

The last time

Earlier this season, on December 10, Ohio State lost at Kansas, 78-67. Thomas Robinson scored 21
Points and Elijah Johnson added 15. The Jayhawks never trailed. It was the then-No. 2 Buckeyes' first loss of the season. All-American Jared Sullinger did not play due to a back injury.

William Buford had led OSU with 21 points, 17 coming in the second half. Deshaun Thomas contributed a then season-high 19 points. Filling in for the injured Sullinger, Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams combined for 11 points and eight rebounds.

Ohio State is 3-5 against Kansas all-time and 18-21 all-time versus teams from the Big XII.

Game Storylines

  • Thomas Robinson leads the nation with 26 double-doubles on the season, including eight in his past 10 games.

  • The national semifinal marks the seventh NCAA Tournament game the Jayhawks have played at the Superdome and third appearance in a New Orleans Final Four. Kansas is 2-4 all-time in the dome. Their last game in the Superdome was the 2003 national championship game defeat to Syracuse. It was also Roy Williams' last game as KU's head coach.

  • Kansas is appearing in its 41st NCAA Tournament and 23rd consecutive, the nation's longest active streak and second-best all-time. The Jayhawks are 92-39 in the tournament.

  • Bill Self is 22-7 at Kansas in the NCAA Tournament. He has appeared in two Final Fours and won the 2008 national championship.

  • Kansas has won 11 Final Four games, sixth-best all-time.

  • Ohio State NCAA Tournament History

    Ohio State is appearing is in the midst of its 24th appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes have an overall record of 45-22 and advanced to the 11th Final Four in school history. They own one national title (1960) while finishing runners-up on four separate occasions (1939, 1961, 1962, 2007).

    The Road to the Final Four

    Ohio State's Final Four run has been highlighted by stellar play from all five Buckeye starters. Whether it be scoring, rebounding or assists, one way or another, everyone has been involved. Five Buckeyes average in double figures with Thomas's nearly 22 points per game leading the way. He is also pulling down 8.5 rebounds, most of which have come on offense. Thomas is shooting 52 percent from the field. Sullinger has tallied 18 points and 8.3 rebounds per tournament contest, while Buford is contributing 11.8 points. The unexpected force has been Lenzelle Smith Jr., who came up big in both games last weekend in Boston. He's averaging 11.3 points. Ohio State's little engine that could, Craft, is averaging 10 points on 52 percent shooting. He's accumulated 23 assists and 13 steals.

    Been Here Before

    Thad Matta's coaching staff is filled with former Final Four attendees, including himself. Matta led Ohio State to the 2007 Final Four in just his third season in Columbus. The Buckeyes lost in the national championship game to Florida. Assistant coach Dave Dickerson was a member of Gary Williams' staff at Maryland for 13 years, during which the Terrapins appeared in two Final Fours and won the 2002 national title. David Egelhoff, OSU's director of basketball operations, was a student manager when the Buckeyes went to the 1999 Final Four and was in his current position for the 2007 run.

    The Tonight Show with Thad Matta

    Once again, the Buckeyes will tip late into the night. The scheduled 8:50 p.m. start against Kansas will be the 15th time this season Ohio State tipped at 8:30 or later. The Buckeyes are 12-2 in the late starts.

    Probable Kansas starters:

    F #0 Thomas Robinson (Jr.) 6'10'' - 17.9 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.9 apg

    G #10 Tyshawn Taylor (Sr.) 6'3'' - 17.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 4.8 apg

    C #5 Jeff Withey (Jr.) 7'0'' - 9.3 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.8 apg

    G #24 Travis Releford (Jr.) 6'6'' - 8.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.9 apg

    G #15 Elijah Johnson (Jr.) 6'4'' - 9.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.8 apg


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