The Buckeyes beat Loyola (Maryland) tonight, 78-59, behind the studly play of Deshaun Thomas, who seemed to grab every rebound and get every put-back bucket.
The score isn’t important, and the fact that Thomas led the way isn’t really important, either. What’s important is that the Buckeyes survive and move on — and that is what the NCAA Tournament is all about. That is what last year’s Big Dance confirmed. You don’t have to be the best team, you just have to survive by hook or crook in the game at hand and move forward.
The Buckeyes have done so tonight, moving past the Greyhounds and into the field of 32. They did it even though their game started after 10 p.m., which is pretty ridiculous when you think about it. These are college kids who just took exams, and purely because of money they start their national championship tournament after 10 p.m. on a weeknight. But that’s a posting for another day.
Next up for the Buckeyes is Gonzaga, which pulverized West Virginia tonight. We’ll figure out later whether the Buckeyes match up well or poorly against Gonzaga — for now, the big point is that the Buckeyes are still alive, and so is every other Big Ten team that has played. We’ll see how the Tournament goes, but right now the people who were saying the Big Ten was tough this year have a pretty good argument.