What has been anticipated for a few days became reality Thursday as Illinois named Ohio’s John Groce as its men’s basketball coach. Will it be a good hire? A bad hire? Who knows? It’s absurd to draw a conclusion on something like that on the day of an introductory press conference. But a few things are without dispute.
(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.
No Big Ten basketball team had a better winning percentage at home during the 2011-12 season than Indiana (.947 percent), and a lot of the success can be attributed to the rabid fans who fill Assembly Hall every game. Even when Indiana was winning six games a season, the fans showed and gave their team a homecourt advantage. IUAthletics YouTube channel posted a cool time-lapse video of the school’s loyal fans, from the time the gates opened to just before tip. Watch the video in this post.
(AP) Freshman guard Andre Hollins scored 20 points, including five in overtime, and short-handed Minnesota beat Washington 68-67 on Tuesday night to advance to the NIT title game. With the shot clock winding down and the Golden Gophers clinging to a one-point lead in the final minute, Hollins banked in an off-balance shot to put Minnesota up 68-65. The sixth-seeded Golden Gophers (23-14) will face No. 3 seed Stanford in Thursday’s title game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinal beat Massachusetts in the first semifinal. Read the full AP recap, see the box score and interactive NIT bracket and get Tom Dienhart’s analysis in this post.
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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March 26, 2005, forever will hold a special place in Illinois men’s basketball fans’ hearts. It was on this day, after all, that the top-ranked Illini pulled off one of the more memorable comebacks in NCAA tourney history (AP recap). Down 15 points with four minutes left in the Chicago Regional final against No. 3 seed Arizona, Illinois rallied all the way back to force overtime, where it carded an unforgettable 90-89 victory. Watch a video of the unbelievable comeback in this post.