The Ohio State-Kansas game lived up to its billing — a tough slugging match between two heavyweights. Unfortunately for Ohio State (and me), Kansas took the Buckeyes’ best shot and came back strong to win. All credit to the Jayhawks for hustling and scrapping and getting the rebounds and loose balls that allowed them to turn the tide in the second half.
Obviously, I’m sorry that the Buckeyes could not hold their lead and could not make their goal of the national championship game. Their loss, however, does not take away from what has been a wonderful season for the team and its fans. This is a group that battled through adversity and tough stretches and came back to play extremely well down the stretch and in the NCAA Tournament. Much as I would like to have seen the Buckeyes win and get the chance to knock off Kentucky, there is no shame in losing by two points in a hard-fought game to a basketball powerhouse like Kansas.
I’d like to thank William Buford and Jared Sullinger for coming back to play another year, when they could have gone to the NBA and made a lot of money this year instead. I’ve relished watching Aaron Craft play, and Deshaun Thomas develop into a much more well-rounded player, and Lenzelle Smith Jr. make crucial shots when the team needed them most. I’ve enjoyed watching Shannon Scott and Amir Williams and Sam Thompson and catching glimpses of their bright futures. And, I’ve appreciated the hard work of Thad Matta and his coaching staff as they have gotten the team ready to play, game after game.
An evenly matched contest like the one played tonight is a game of inches; the fact that things didn’t bounce the Buckeyes’ way at the end doesn’t detract from a great year. I know it’s tough for the players and coaches, who were hoping for something even more; it will be some time before the sting eases. In the meantime, I just want to say thanks for lots of great basketball, Buckeyes!