After cruising to beat the No. 15 Iona Gaels in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Ohio State needed to pull some tricks out of the bag to earn themselves a spot in the Elite 8.
A lay-up with just under two minutes left to go in their third round game against Iowa State seemed to be enough for the Cyclones to pull off the upset victory, but instead Aaron Craft had stepped in to earn a questionable charge and keep it at a one point game. It was close enough for the Buckeyes to tie it and have the ball to win on the final shot. A Craft isolation after he waved off star player, Deshaun Thomas, turned into a pull-up three pointer that hit nothing but net and gave the Buckeyes the buzzer beating win.
Survive and advance is the moral of the NCAA tournament and that is what the Buckeyes did to get to the sweet 16. In the Sweet 16, they faced a gritty Arizona team who never gave up and tied up the game with an and-1 with under 30 seconds left.
Could the Buckeyes hit another buzzer beater to advance? LaQuinton Ross from NBA range, nothing but net again to win and the Buckeyes just kept marching on. It seemed like it was impossible for them to lose.
Getting to face a No. 9 seed with a chance to go the Final 4 was almost like a gift, but almost only counts in horse shoes and hand grenades. The Wichita State Shockers opened up a 20 point lead halfway through the second half.
Then Ohio State seemed to be taking another trick out of the bag as they cut it to a one possession game with just under four minutes to play. Another miracle for the Buckeyes?
Too much magic was needed to complete the comeback win and the Buckeyes were “shocked” as they fell short of the Final 4 after two buzzer beating victories.
A great season for Ohio State, but they had a cake walk to the Final 4 and were unable to take advantage of it. This has to be a bit of a disappointment for Thad Matta and his team.