Buckeyes Draw Bearcats in Rematch of ’62 Title Game
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It is fitting that Saturday will mark the 50th anniversary of Ohio State’s 71-59 loss to Cincinnati in the 1962 national championship game.
Fitting because the Buckeyes now must get through the Bearcats if they are going to advance past the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2007. In each of the past two years, their season has come to a close in the opening game of the tournament’s second weekend.
“I’m not ready to go home,” said William Buford, Ohio State’s lone senior.
“I’m happy we’re going back to the Sweet 16, but that’s not going to be good enough for me. We want to get further this year after what has happened the last two years.”
No. 2-seed Ohio State advanced to the round of 16 over the weekend with a 73-66 win over 7-seed Gonzaga Saturday at the Consol Energy Center in downtown Pittsburgh. They will be joined in Boston Thursday by a Cincinnati team that defeated No. 3-seed Florida State 62-56 late Sunday night in Nashville, Tenn.
Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick led the way with18 points and six rebounds, while senior Dion Dixon added 15 points. Center Yancy Gates added 10 points and five rebounds as the Bearcats returned to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2001.
The Syracuse-Wisconsin game will be the first contest in Boston Thursday, tipping at 7:15 p.m. ET, while the Buckeyes once again draw the late start, with a 9:45 p.m. tip time against Cincinnati.
Ohio State is 5-4 all-time against the Bearcats, with their most recent victory coming back on Dec. 16, 2006. The No. 4-ranked Buckeyes raced out to a 42-14 halftime lead at Conseco Fieldhouse in that game and went on to a 72-50 victory behind Indianapolis natives Greg Oden and Mike Conley Jr.
Conley had eight points, eight rebounds and seven assists in the victory, while Oden dominated the paint with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots.
That game marked the only meeting between these two Ohio neighbors since the Bearcats bested the Buckeyes in back-to-back national title games back in 1961-62. Ohio State had won the title in 1960 behind Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek, and they lost a total of three games in ’61 and ’62.
Lucas was named the Most Outstanding Player in the tournament in ’61, but Fred Taylor’s team lost the title game, 70-65, to Cincinnati. The next year, it was Cincinnati’s Paul “Duke” Hogue who captured Most Outstanding Player in the tournament, as the Buckeyes came up short again.
Hogue, Lucas and Havlicek were all selected among the first 10 picks in the 1962 NBA Draft.
Thursday will mark the first time these two schools have met in the tournament since those title games in the early 1960’s. Current Ohio State coach Thad Matta is 3-1 all-time against Cincinnati, including the win back in 2006.
Along with Ohio State and Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio University will also represent the Buckeye State this coming weekend—making Ohio the first state ever with four teams in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Tournament.
With the completion of Sunday’s games, the Big Ten Conference is now 9-2 in the NCAA Tournament this year, with four teams (Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Indiana) still alive in the round of 16.
No. 10-seed Purdue nearly made it a 10-1 start for the B1G with a near upset of 2-see Kansas Sunday evening. Robbie Hummel tallied 29 points and nine rebounds in his final game as a Boilermaker, but the Jayhawks rallied from a 6-point halftime deficit for a 63-60 victory.
Purdue joins Michigan as the only two Big Ten teams to exit the tournament thus far.
No. 1-seed Michigan State will face 4-seed Louisville Thursday in Phoenix while Indiana faces No. 1-overall seed Kentucky in a rematch over the Wildcats only loss Friday in Atlanta.
No. 4-seed Wisconsin will play Syracuse, the top seed in the East Region, Thursday in Boston, while the Buckeyes face Cincinnati in the late game. Both games will air nationally on CBS.
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