This game looks even on paper and it should prove to be so on the court. Ohio State is the number one seed in the South Regional while Memphis is the number two seed in the South Regional. Both of these teams have a whopping 33 wins against only 3 losses. However, only one of these teams will make it to win number 34.
Ohio State was expected to get this far and probably beyond but it hasn’t been easy for them. In the second round of the NCAA Tournament Xavier had Ohio State on the ropes. If it wasn’t for a missed free throw and a last second three, Ohio State would already be home. In the Sweet 16, Tennessee had Ohio State on the ropes again and it took a block by Greg Oden at the buzzer to preserve the win.
Speaking of Greg Oden, with the exception of the block on Thursday night, he really hasn’t been a factor in the last two games. He fouled out against Xavier and he was in constant foul trouble against Tennessee. He nearly made a catastrophic mistake against Xavier when he committed his fifth foul with just a few seconds let in the game. He didn’t even go for the ball and the foul was hard enough to be judged an intentional foul. That would’ve ended the game but the officials only called it a personal foul.
Memphis had a much easier time in their second round game. They defeated Nevada by sixteen points. But in the Sweet 16 The Tigers had their own scare. They needed two free throws from Antonio Anderson with 3.1 seconds left in the game to get the win.
What’s happened in the previous rounds doesn’t matter to either of these teams. All that matters is winning and making it to Atlanta for the Final Four.
Both of these teams have experienced a great deal of success this year – as evidenced by their 33 wins. But Memphis feels like they are the underdogs because they don’t play in a major conference. They play in Conference USA as opposed to Ohio State who plays in the Big Ten.
Ohio State will play solid defense. They have many players that can beat anyone. But Memphis has their own set of talented players and they know how to win.
This will be a showdown with a dream-come-true trip to the Final Four awaiting the victor.