The Kansas Jayhawks completed an epic comeback to knock off Ohio State 64-62 in the 2012 NCAA tournament semifinals.
It appeared the Jayhawks were in for a long night and blowout, as they went down by as much as 13 in the first half. But behind an inspired effort from their front line and a few crucial Buckeye mistakes, Kansas pulled off the miraculous victory.
Now, they will prepare themselves for the national title game on Monday versus John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.
Tweets of the Night
After a fairly uneventful start to the game, the fake Bill Walton made a pretty solid comparison.
Ohio State-Kansas is about as boring as, well, the state of Ohio and Kansas.— The Bill Walton Trip (@NotBillWalton) April 1, 2012
After his crazy steal/turnover in the final seconds, Chad Ford of ESPN and Seth Davis of CBS both agreed that Tyshawn Taylor is the prime example of a hurts-me, hurts-you player.
Yup. Not sure I've ever loved and hated a player so much at same time. RT @SethDavisHoops: That. Is. Tyshawn. Taylor. (Good and bad.)— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) April 1, 2012
Grades for Key Ohio State Players
Jared Sullinger: D
Sullinger spent most of the night making Jeff Withey look like Dikembe Mutombo. He had several of his shots swatted and made just five of his 19 field-goal attempts.
Sullinger will shoulder a large amount of blame for this loss, but perhaps more importantly, his draft stock just took a major hit. He got completely destroyed by the Jayhawks' length, and unless he makes drastic improvements on his jumper, the same fate will await him in the NBA.
Aaron Craft: A-
Craft's numbers weren't great, but he made numerous big plays throughout the night. From taking charges, to supplying intense pressure-defense, to draining a few key buckets, Craft was the best Buckeye player on Saturday. Unfortunately, his efforts weren't enough.
William Buford: A-
With Deshaun Thomas battling foul trouble all game, Ohio State needed Buford to step up. And the senior did exactly that. Buford went for 19 points and seven rebounds, while shooting 60 percent from the field. It was a sad ending to his college career, but Buford should be proud of his performance.
Grades for Key Kansas Players
Thomas Robinson: A
Robinson continued his dominant run, putting up 19 points and eight rebounds. He was unstoppable in the paint and proved emphatically that he's a better pro prospect than Sullinger.
Tyshawn Taylor: C
I thought Kansas would need a scoring explosion from Taylor to advance. However, they will move on despite getting just 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting from their point guard. Taylor did do a great job of finding open teammates, racking up eight assists on the night.
Jeff Withey: A+
Withey only had four points on the night, but he kept Kansas in the game with his rebounding and defense. He pulled down eight boards, swatted seven shots and altered several more. His defense on Sullinger was unquestionably the key to the game.
Stat of the Night: 14
Sullinger's 14 missed field goals were the deciding factor in the game. He was frustrated by Withey's length all night, and he could never establish a rhythm.
As the Buckeyes' best player, Sullinger needed to step up to the challenge Kansas presented. He didn't, and Ohio State is heading home because of it.
Game MVP: Jeff Withey
Withey's impact can't be overstated. His presence completely altered the outcome of the game. With the seven-footer blanketing Sullinger, Kansas could stay at home on the Buckeyes' shooters and not allow someone else to beat them.
Withey doesn't usually get a lot of publicity, but he deserves all the credit in the world after this game.
Now, the Jayhawks will take on the daunting Kentucky Wildcats, led by Anthony Davis and his magical unibrow.
It should be a great game, as both teams have strong guards and great post players. I'm expecting Kentucky to win, but as the Jayhawks proved on Saturday, you can never count out Bill Self and Co.
The championship is set for Monday at 9 PM ET on CBS.
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