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Ohio State Road To Final Four: Kansas Awaits In New Orleans

Posted: 03/30/2012 1:29 pm Updated: 03/30/2012 1:29 pm

Ohio State Final Four
BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24: Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Syracuse Orange during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Final at TD Garden on March 24, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

A year removed from a disappointing exit in the Sweet 16 after being named the top seed in the 2011 tournament, Ohio State has another opportunity to capture its first national championship since their only one in 1960. And they might be able to that by beating the team that eliminated them last year, this year's No. 1 overall seed, Kentucky.

But the Buckeyes have to go through Kansas first, the team that handed them their first loss of the season in December.

Ohio State earned a No. 3 preseason ranking and got off to a strong start to prove its top-5 credentials, taking out the Florida Gators who were then ranked No. 8 in just the second game of the season. After dismantling Duke at home and going on an eight-game win streak, it looked as if the Buckeyes were going to breeze through the Big Ten.

But the conference proved to be much better than expected, as OSU went on to split with five teams and lost three of five during a trying February stretch.

With a win over Michigan State in the season finale, Ohio State was able to grab a share of the Big Ten regular season title. But a loss in another showdown with the Spartans, this time in the Big Ten Tournament title game, would cost Thad Matta's squad a No. 1 seed in the big dance.

Led by Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State knocked off the Big East Tournament champs Cincinnati Bearcats along with the No. 1 seed Syracuse Orange en route to its first Final Four berth since 2007.

Ohio State Crushes Duke
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Ohio State flexed its muscles in a statement game against Duke at home. The Buckeyes wiped the floor with the Blue Devils, jumping out to an 11-0 lead and never looking back. In fact, after the 85-63 loss, Coach K said that he was just focused on "trying not to lose by 30."

Filed by Michael Klopman  |