(AP) When it comes to unpredictable, game-changing performers at a Final Four, most of the time the discussion revolves around a precocious freshman. Ohio State fans, however, have grown accustomed to warily keeping an eye on the Buckeyes’ lone senior. Which William Buford will show up?
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In the sports world, there’s no better magazine to have your mug on than Sports Illustrated. Ohio State’s Aaron Craft knows what it’s like. The Ohio State point guard is featured on this week’s Final Four regional-based cover. On it, Craft has the ball and is in midair against Syracuse, with the headline: “Ohio State Keeps on Dancing.” The Buckeyes take on Kansas, which beat them earlier this season, Saturday in the second national semifinal.
The New Orleans Saints’ official Twitter account (@Saints) released photos of the 2012 Final Four court and other scenes around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, home of this year’s Final Four. So, if you’re interested, get your first look at the court Ohio State will be playing on Saturday night. Spoiler alert: It’s in the same design as all the NCAA tourney courts, only it’s green — two shades of it — where those courts are black, and it features the Final Four logo at midcourt. See pictures in this post.
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Lots buzzing around Big Ten football gridirons on this day, with Michigan State taking the wraps off its spring drills. And questions loom, as you’ll see in this post. I talked to Northwestern’s Pat Fitzgerald today, and he has some pretty passionate feelings about protecting the sanctity of the bowl experience for student-athletes. More to come from Fitz later. Here’s some interesting items that I came across today.
Big Ten Player of the Year Draymond Green and Jared Sullinger were named John R. Wooden All-Americans and first-team AP All-America on Monday. Green averaged 16.2 ppg, 10.6 rpg, 3.8 apg, 1.5 spg and 1 bpg, while Sullinger contributed 17.6 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.2 apg, 1.2 spg and 1 bpg. Both players led their teams to a share of the Big Ten crown, along with Michigan, and Sullinger has Ohio State in the Final Four. See all the teams in this post.
Ohio State was our preseason pick for the cream of the conference, and, despite a bumpy Big Ten slate that left them sharing the title, the Buckeyes are now the last B1G standing. The Sweet Sixteen was rather cruel to Big Ten teams not from Columbus; let’s start with the happy news and work our way through the rest.
The Urban Meyer era has dawned at Ohio State. And with it comes big dreams—national championship dreams. Why not? Meyer led Florida to BCS titles in 2006 and 2008. Yes, Ohio State is ineligible for the Big Ten title and a bowl this season as it serves probation incurred under Jim Tressel. But Meyer still wants to lay the foundation for future greatness for a team that went 6-7 last season, the program’s first losing season since going 4-6-1 under John Cooper in 1988 and the school’s first seven-loss season since 1897.
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