Despite what those Bluegrass basketball fans may have told you, the national championship is not being contested tonight. More importantly, there are actually two games taking place at the Superdome in New Orleans.
In the nightcap, Ohio State and Kansas will battle for the second spot in the final of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament. This pair of No. 2 seeds likely won't mind that their matchup has been referred to as the "other game" as the hype around Louisville-Kentucky grew ahead of the Final Four. A win for either the Jayhawks or the Buckeyes will be no less sweet even if the spotlight is not quite as bright.
After bowing out early during last season's tournament as a No. 1 seed, Ohio State toppled the No 1 seed in the East Region, Syracuse, to clinch a spot in New Orleans. For their part, the Jayhawks also dispatched the top seed in their region. Kansas overwhelmed North Carolina with a late spurt to claim the Midwest Region. Entering the season, UNC was considered the favorite to cut down the nets. Regardless of who comes out on top here, Kentucky will be the favorite entering the championship. Given the road that Kansas and Ohio State have traveled, neither should mind.
Who will survive and advance to the big game on Monday night? Can either Thomas Robinson or Jared Sullinger take over this game? Will Sullinger find himself tethered to the bench by foul trouble? Can Jeff Withey keep up his impressive tournament performance for the Jayhawks?
STAY TUNED FOR LIVE UPDATES THROUGHOUT THE GAME:
Kansas looked overwhelmed in the first half but they came out aggressively after the break and got in front in the final minutes.
Craft threw up the free throw very quickly and charged into the lane.. he nearly got to the rebound but was whistled for lane violation. He was moving before ball hit the rim. As they argued the call, Kansas inbounded it and BALLGAME .
Kentucky vs. Kansas on MOnday night!
He's got hit and then miss. He hits the first. It's 64-62 and he's at the line...
Wow. what a shocking turn. Kansas stole it to seal the game but then it was thrown away... Let's try this again.
Taylor hits both and it's 64-61 with 8.3
Taylor gets in the inbounds and will shoot a pair. Kansas leads 62-61. It's 8.3 seconds..
Thomas misses a three but Ohio State keeps it after Withey can't control rebound. Thomas misses again but Buford slams home the rebound. It's 62-61 to Kansas with 9.6 seconds.
Withey gets whistled for a travel as caught the ball on the move and threw up a shot.
But Craft saves. He stops Robinson from layup. Great play. No foul.
Kansas surging toward finish line. Ohio State has ball with 1:04 and down 3.
Withey gets another block and Johnson comes barging down the floor. Nobody challenges and he lays it in!. Shades of UNC finale.
Releford hits both and Kansas leads 60-59.
Withey's block of Craft unleashes the Kansas break. Releford fouled as he goes up with it. Two shots coming.
Taylor shoots quickly and gets it to drop for Kansas.
|@ YahooForde : Aaron Craft with the acutely timed steal and layup. Bill Self down to his last timeout.|
Craft picks Johnson's pocket and drives for a layup. OSU leads 59-56. Kansas timeout.
Thomas hits a pair of free throws and Ohio State is back on top.
Releford sinks a pair of free throws and it'sa 56-55 lead for Kansas.
Sullinger stuffs Robinson at the rim.
|@ PeteThamelNYT : Is this a good time to bring up that there hasn't been a single buzzer beater this entire N.C.A.A. Tournament? OSU leads 55-53.|
Kansas will have the ball after the timeout with under 4 minutes to play.
Craft drives into a crowd of Jayhawks and he can't finish. Did Robinson block? Or just bother? Here comes Taylor at pace the other way. His layup rolls off but there's a whistle on OSU. TV timeout.
Johnson drives down Main Street to pull Kansas back within one bucket. Nice move and he's got a fist pump heading back down court. It's 55-53 with 4:15.
Robinson now has 18 points and is doing all he can to keep pace with OSU on scoreboard.
Sullinger overwhelms Young for the weakside offensive rebound. Young fouls as he goes back up with it. He's got two shots coming.
Robinson draws a shooting foul and gets to the line. He hits 1 of 2.
Buckeyes get out on the run after Withey missed in close and Buford throws it down on a pass from Smith.
Robinson gets it knocked away at one end and then Sullinger scores down low at the other. Big swing..
|@ nicoleauerbach : Ohio State is shooting 4-20 this half (20%). Kansas is 10-17 (58.8%)|