Final Four Schedule 2012: Kansas vs. Ohio State Sure to Be an Instant Classic

Gil ImberAnalyst IIMarch 28, 2012

LAWRENCE, KS - DECEMBER 10:  Amir Williams #23 and Lenzelle Smith, Jr. of the Ohio State Buckeyes walk back upcourt after a timeout during the game against the Kansas Jayhawks on December 10, 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Kansas and Ohio State are ready to combine for a 2012 NCAA Tournament first when they hit the floor during this Saturday's Final Four in New Orleans—the Buckeyes and Jayhawks stand a significant chance of putting up the first buzzer beater since March Madness began during the First Four round.

From OSU's Jared Sullinger vs. Thomas Robinson to OSU's Aaron Craft vs. Tyshawn Taylor and coach Thad Matta vs. Bill Self, Saturday's second game is a marquee matchup pitting No. 2 vs. No. 2 and featuring the Ohio State Buckeyes looking for revenge after the Jayhawks defeated OSU 78-67 at home on Dec. 10, 2011.

If you're looking for excitement, look no further.

Both teams defeated their region's No. 1 seed to get to this point—Ohio State beat Syracuse while Kansas defeated North Carolina—and both the Buckeyes and Jayhawks simply play tough basketball.

Ohio State and Kansas matchup thusly: 

  Ohio State Kansas Advantage
Points per Game 75 74 Ohio State
Rebounds per Game 37 38 Kansas
Assists per Game 15 15 Tie

Field Goal Pct 

48.3  47.6 

Ohio State 

3-pt FG Pct

33.6 34.5


Turnovers per Game 12 13 Ohio State
Steals per Game 7 7 Tie
Blocks per Game  3 Kansas
Overall Record 31-7 31-6 Kansas


Sullinger was not available during the December defeat; had he been, that 78-67 game very well could have gone to overtime—at full strength, the teams are so evenly matched, we might still be playing overtime, even petitioning the NCAA to adopt a sudden death procedure for basketball.

When two teams match-up and neither team is significantly better than the other, we expect to see an offense-defense or size disparity, as is the case in the Louisville vs. Kentucky game.

Instead, the stats confirm the OSU-Kansas deadlock that has fans on both sides absolutely adamant that their respective school will win.

Meanwhile, Las Vegas and its sportsbooks have decided to favor the Buckeyes with a projected final score in the ballpark of 83-80.

No matter how you slice it, this game will be one for the ages with Ohio State and Kansas projected to play to a 2.5-point spread.

Ohio State are 2.5-point favorites to defeat Kansas on Saturday
Ohio State are 2.5-point favorites to defeat Kansas on SaturdayJim Rogash/Getty Images

According to OddsShark's stats, the Jayhawks are 2-7 SU when playing as underdogs, while the Buckeyes are 0-2 after playing Syracuse.

Then again, Ohio State is 8-2 on Saturdays, though Kansas is 4-1 and 1-1 after playing the Tar Heels. When the Buckeyes beat the Orange, they were 2.5-point spread favorites due in part to Fab Melo's ineligibility for Syracuse, while Kansas also covered as a two-point favorite vs. UNC.

Nonetheless, all the stats in the world can't take away from what promises to be a long-lasting legacy and instant classic of a Final Four showdown. ESPN analysts Andy Katz and Doug Gottlieb project a game that will be decided by a final possession, and I agree.

If nothing else, make sure you tune into this game with no less than two minutes remaining in the second half.

And if you miss it entirely, don't worry.

I have a pretty good feeling this game will be shown on ESPN Classic sometime soon.