The Buckeyes are going to the Final Four! Even as I type those words, I find them hard to believe — and richly satisfying, all at the same time.
What a fine, if foul-plagued, game this was! Ohio State took the game to Syracuse from the first tip. They played a smart game against the Syracuse zone, and once they figured out how the officials were going to call the game, they tailored their approach accordingly. The Buckeyes attacked, they rebounded, and they hounded Syracuse into a series of turnovers when the game was on the line.
Virtually every Buckeye made a significant contribution in this game. Jared Sullinger overcame first half foul trouble and dominated the game in the second half every time he touched the ball. Aaron Craft was a hustling hurricane, Deshaun Thomas made some great passes and clutch shots, and the Buckeye bench — Sam Thompson, Evan Ravenel, Shannon Scott, and particularly Amir Williams — made the win possible. But I particularly want to commend William Buford and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. — Buford, because he kept fighting and just wouldn’t quit, and Smith, who was fearless in putting the ball up and taking the ball to the rack.
It’s so rare for a team to make it to the Final Four. So much depends on match-ups, and who is hot and who is not, and how the ball bounces. It’s time to enjoy this great accomplishment, and revel in the cool of the evening.