CLEVELAND, OH - MARCH 20: Aaron Craft #4, Jared Sullinger #0 and Jon Diebler #33 of the Ohio State Buckeyes look on from the bench late in the second half against the George Mason Patriots during the third of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on March 20, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Sweet 16 Become Final Four This Weekend

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Ohio State Falls To Kentucky In A Thriller, 62-60

And then there were none.

The Ohio State Buckeyes, the last remaining Big Ten team in the 2011 NCAA Tournament and the top overall seed in the entire field, were sent packing by the Kentucky Wildcats on Friday night by a score of 62-60 in East Regional play in Newark, New Jersey.

This one went back and forth all night, and while the Buckeyes managed to open up a lead as big as seven in the first half, the teams went into halftime tied at 30. In the second half, neither team could open up a lead of more than four points, and the Wildcats took a 58-57 lead on two DeAndre Liggins free throws with 1:36 left to play. After a Jared Sullinger miss, Liggins hit a driving shot to put the Wildcats up 60-57. On the other end, Jon Diebler answered with a long three-pointer to tie things up at 60.

On Kentucky's next possession, freshman point guard Brandon Knight started at the top of the key, drove to his right, and hit a pull-up jumped with five seconds left to give Kentucky the lead, 62-60. Ohio State got the ball in bounds and pushed it downcourt, but William Buford's three-point attempt found nothing but iron, and the time ran out to give Kentucky the victory.

Josh Harrelson had a big night for the Wildcats, leading the team with 17 points and ten rebounds. Liggins chipped in with 15, and Knight scored nine, even though he had the two biggest points of the night.

For the Buckeyes, Jared Sullinger was again the leading force, as he led all scorers with 21 points and all rebounders with 16 caroms on the night. Diebler had 16 points, and David Lighty scored 12 in the loss for Ohio State.

The Buckeyes' season concludes with them having a 34-3 record. Congratulations to Thad Matta and the team on a successful 2010-11 season.


Ohio State Carries Big Ten Banner Against Kentucky In Sweet 16

The Ohio State Buckeyes are the lone Big Ten Conference representative remaining in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, and they'll look to keep it that way tonight in East Regional play against a traditional basketball powerhouse, the Kentucky Wildcats, in tonight's Sweet 16 match-up in Newark, New Jersey.

Ohio State has bulldozed their way into the Sweet 16, decimating their first two opponents by an average of 30.5 points. They knocked out Texas-San Antonio 75-46, and then defeated George Mason 98-66. Kentucky has had a slightly tougher road to Newark, defeating Princeton in the first round by a score of 59-57, and then defeating West Virginia 71-63.

SB Nation's Ohio State blog, Along the Olentangy, know that it won't be easy for the Scarlet and Gray tonight, but think their guys will be able to get the job done.

Kentucky has the athletes to compete with Ohio State at every position, but senior forward Josh Harellson and the aforementioned Terrence Jones will have to defend the mammoth Jared Sullinger. It's well-established at this point that the Buckeyes are at their best when Sullinger is playing well, and it could change the game if Harrelson and Jones can cause Sullinger trouble. While that is an obvious observation to make, it does hold truth. Sullinger's presence in the paint gives Ohio State direct access to the basket and an easy path to controlling the game.

Not to be outdone, the folks over at A Sea of Blue, SB Nation's home for all things Kentucky, they know what their team has to do to pull off the upset and move on.

Foul distribution will play a critical role in this game.  Ohio State is slightly more vulnerable to fouls inside, and Kentucky is slightly more vulnerable to fouls outside.  Sullinger absolutely cannot get in foul trouble for OSU, so expect him to play very carefully on defense and guard the less dangerous Harrellson.  Kentucky must be able to keep enough shooters in the game to counter OSU's outside threats, so if two backcourt players for UK pick up early fouls, it will be trouble for the 'Cats.

The team to attack the basket off the dribble most successfully will likely win this game.  OSU and Kentucky both do this a lot, so we are talking strength against strength.

Check out the whole list. . .it's well worth the read.

Tip-off for this one is set for 8:45 PM Central time, and you'll be able to watch this one on your local CBS affiliate.


Gone, Wisconsin: Badger Offense Disappears In Loss To Butler

The Wisconsin Badgers' offense has pulled a disappearing act or two this season, and they couldn't have picked a worse possible time to pull another one than in Thursday's Sweet 16 match-up against the Butler Bulldogs.

Yes, Cinderella is continuing to dance in this year's NCAA Tournament, as the eighth-seeded Bulldogs knocked off the fourth-seeded Badgers in Southeast Regional play on Thursday night, winning by a score of 61-54.

Matt Howard led the way for the Bulldogs, registering a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Shelvin Mack, who dodged a bullet against Pittsburgh in the second round, scored 13 points for Butler on the night.

For the Badgers, Jordan Taylor showed up, leading all scorers with 22 points. Jon Leuer, on the other hand, had an awful night for the Badgers, hitting just one of 12 shots from the field and finishing with three points. The Badgers as a team shot an anemic 30.2% from the floor. . .even Jordan's 22 points came with him hitting six of 19 shots from the floor.

Wisconsin made a furious comeback, as they were down 47-27 with just over 11 minutes left in the game, and got the deficit to as little as four, but they just ran out of time in their efforts to catch the Bulldogs.

Butler will move on to the Elite Eight, where they'll battle against the Florida Gators for a trip to Houston and the Final Four. The Gators defeated the BYU Cougars earlier in the evening in the Southeast Regional.

Wisconsin's loss means they finish their season with an overall record of 25-9. Congratulations to the Badgers on their tournament run and on a successful season.

The loss also means that there is only one team from the Big Ten Conference remaining in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, that being the Ohio State Buckeyes. They'll take on the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow night in East Regional play.


2011 NCAA Basketball Tournament: Wisconsin Takes On Butler For Elite Eight Berth

The Big Ten only has two teams that are still playing meaningful basketball, and one of them will be taking the floor in about an hour and a half, as the Wisconsin Badgers, the Southeast Region's fourth seed, take on the surprising Butler Bulldogs for the right to move on to the Elite Eight.

Butler got here by beating Old Dominion on a last-second shot, and then taking out the Pittsburgh Panthers on a crazy closing sequence. Wisconsin beat the upstart Belmont Bruins in the first round, and then knocking off Kansas State to advance to the Sweet 16.

At SB Nation's Badgers blog, Bucky's 5th Quarter, they know what this game could potentially mean to the school's post-season reputation.

What's incredible when you look at UW's recent postseason history is how much help the Badgers have received in the NCAA Tournament. Of the 16 NCAA Tournament games Wisconsin has played since 2005, only four of them have been against higher-seeded teams and only one of them was against a one, two, or three seed.

Unfortunately, other than 2005, the Badgers haven't been able to take advantage of that help too often. In 2008, Davidson's upset over Georgetown gave UW an easier path to the Elite Eight, but Stephen Curry shut that road down by dropping 33 points on the Badgers in Detroit in a 73-56 laugher.

And last season, Cornell's upset over Temple in the first round gave Wisconsin an easier path to the Sweet 16, but the Big Red then blitzed the Badgers in an 87-69 beatdown in Jacksonville.

You could almost argue it would have been better if No. 1 Pittsburgh hadn't lost to Butler last weekend. I kid, but honestly, this year's tournament has set up a similar hurdle that UW hasn't been able to clear in the past.

If the Badgers want to change their recent postseason reputation a win over the Bulldogs would go a long way.

Tip-off for this one will take place at 8:45 Central time, and you'll be able to see the action on TBS. Check your local listings for details, or turn your DirecTV box to Channel 247.

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