The Ohio University Bobcats are headed to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in half a century, and if you don’t know the name D. J. Cooper, you should.
Two years ago, in 2010, the 5’10″, 165 lb. guard, then a freshman, led the Bobcats to their first NCAA Tournament win in 27 seasons, upsetting the Georgetown Hoyas. Cooper, who was named the Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year that season, led the way, with 23 points, 8 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.
And in this year’s tournament, two years later, the junior is picking up right where he left off.
In their first match-up of this year’s NCAA Tourney, No. 13 Ohio squared off against No. 4 seeded, Michigan. Behind Cooper’s game-high 21 points and 5 assists, the Bobcats defeated the Wolverines by a score of 65-60.
In their next game, the Bobcats took on the No. 12 seeded South Florida Bulls. This time, Cooper added 19 points and led the way with 7 assists.
On Friday, in the Sweet Sixteen, the Bobcats will have their hands-full as they take on the No. 1 seed in the region, the University of North Carolina. However, the Tarheels may be without their star guard, Kendall Marshall, who broke his right wrist against the Creighton Blue Jays, leaving his status for the game uncertain. If Marshall does have to sit, it certainly could impact the game.
It just may be that the Tarheels will have their work cut out for them as well…at least when it comes to stopping the elusive D.J. Cooper.