ATLANTA -- On the biggest stage of the year, Ohio State stole the show.
Saturday evening in the first of two national semifinal games, the Buckeyes
responded with a 67-60 victory against Georgetown to advance to the
Championship game Monday night. Ohio State (35-3) has won 22 consecutive games
and are now one game away from a first National Championship in 47 years.
A vision by Ohio State head coach Thad Matta to four freshmen sold them on
Ohio State during the recruiting process. That vision, which included Big Ten
Championships, Final Fours and National Titles might be coming to fruition right
before their very eyes.
Despite foul trouble, Greg Oden responded with 13 critical second-half points
in an acclaimed matchup against 7-2 center Roy Hibbert. Oden's high school
teammate Mike Conley was the offensive spark for the Buckeyes in the first half,
scoring 11 of his team's 27 points. However, it was the defense of freshman
David Lighty on All-American Jeff Green that helped propel the Buckeyes to the
title game Monday against the winner of UCLA and defending champion Florida
With the 6-5 Cleveland forward shadowing Green the entire game, he was only
able to get off five field goal attempts. Green finished with 9 points and 12
Although Green had a big day on the boards, Ohio State outrebounded
Georgetown 36-29. Oden's 13 points and nine rebounds were a big lift on top of
getting Hibbert into his own foul difficulty.
Conley lifted the Buckeyes with 15 points and six assists in absence of shots
not falling from the outside. Senior Ron Lewis was held to 9 points on 1-of-8
shooting while junior guard Jamar Butler was 4-of-9.
The Ohio State win avenges a 70-52 loss to the Hoyas in the second round of
the NCAA Tournament last March. Ohio State's last loss came on Jan. 9 against
Should Florida beat Ohio State, CBS would get a dream matchup Monday at 9 pm
eastern with a rematch of the BCS National Title game for football on Jan. 8.
The two teams met earlier this season in Gainesville with the Gators winning
86-60. However, UCLA is looking to avenge the National Championship loss to
Florida in last season's finale.
The Buckeyes haven't appeared in the championship game since a loss to
Cincinnati in 1962.