Kansas vs. Ohio State a game worth watching | NCAA Final Four - The Seattle Times

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Kansas vs. Ohio State a game worth watching | NCAA Final Four - The Seattle Times
Mar 31st 2012, 04:47

Originally published March 30, 2012 at 9:46 PM | Page modified March 30, 2012 at 10:02 PM

NEW ORLEANS — There will be another game Saturday night. It will have nothing to do with Kentucky, other than the winner will be playing some school from Kentucky on Monday night for the national championship.

There will be gloating and despair after Louisville plays Kentucky in the early game. Then there will be basketball between Ohio State and Kansas, very good basketball.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta may be the least interesting man in the world, but he can coach hoops. Greg Oden and Mike Conley, in their one season at Ohio State, lost the championship game to Florida in 2007.

Kansas coach Bill Self has had more disastrous NCAA moments than any big-name coach in the 2000s. He also won a national title in 2008.

Matta's 2007 team and Self's 2008 club were more talented than their teams this year. Regardless, one of these teams is 40 minutes from a championship.

Ohio State's Jared Sullinger and Deshuan Thomas have been the best offensive exacta in this tournament. In fact, Thomas' 87 points lead all scorers. And Sullinger's board work is why Ohio State is plus-10.2 rebounds per game so far in the tournament.

Kansas will counter with double-double machine Thomas Robinson and shot-blocking phenom Jeff Withey, who has 20 blocks in four games.

"Great basketball player," Sullinger said of Robinson. "In my eyes, college player of the year. I know some think different. But with his season, the way he took his team to the top, you just got to give it to him."

Robinson liked the sound of that.

"Like he said, everybody's got their opinion," Robinson said. "I agree with him."

Sullinger, out with back spasms, did not play when Kansas beat Ohio State on Dec. 10.

"What do I think he can bring?" Self said about Sullinger. "He's as good a low-post scorer as there is in the country. He brings a lot to the table. We caught a huge break when he didn't play the first time."

These are two programs with 62 wins this year and 24 Final Four appearances overall between them.

Some undercard, huh?

Sullinger said he appreciated the intensity of Louisville-Kentucky.

"Two great coaches, two great basketball teams that are playing very, very well right now," he said. "But we can't focus on that game. Because if we overlook Kansas, we'll be packing our bags up and heading home."

The Associated Press

contributed to this report.

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