Ohio State's Best Second-Round NCAA Tournament Wins

Bruce Hooley

The advance from the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament to the Sweet 16 brings either a sigh of relief or a shriek of sheer joy, depending upon a team's likely fate given its seed entering the Big Dance.

Ohio State has never known the unbridled joy of being an underdog that pulled off two consecutive upsets, because the Buckeyes have rarely been placed in that situation.

But in a storied tournament history that numbers 33 career appearances, OSU has had its share of second-round adventures.

Here are the Top 3 since the field began applying seeds in 1980, ranked least-to-most riveting, based upon expectations for the team or the circumstances that applied.

3. No. 4 OSU 89, No. 5 Arizona State 75 (1980)

The Buckeyes' pairing in West Regional was so unfair the Selection Committee doesn't allow such things any longer.

OSU, which lost at Indiana in overtime on the season's final day to surrender the Big Ten title to the Hoosiers, received a trip to Tempe, Az., and a first-round bye in the days of the 48-team field.

Arizona State, playing on its home floor at Wells Fargo Arena, thumped Loyola Marymount by 28 points in the first round and seemed poised to take down the Buckeyes in front of a raucous home crowd.

But instead, OSU senior All-American Kelvin Ransey and sophomore center Herb Williams scored 25 points apiece and Carter Scott and freshman Clark Kellogg combined for 27 more to power OSU to a relatively easy win.

Arizona State was no joke, with three starters (Byron Scott, Lafayette Lever, Alton Lister) taken in the first round of the NBA Draft and a fourth (Kurt Nimphius) taken in the third round. All four played nine years or more in the league.

ASU coach Ned Wulk lamented afterward: "I know there isn't such a word, but they 'out-strengthened' us. I think that describes the game pretty well." 

2. No. 2 OSU 78, No. 10 Iowa State 75 (2013)

The Buckeyes had the home-court advantage in the second round at the University of Dayton Arena, but Iowa State played impervious to that.

The Cyclones overcame a 12-point Ohio State lead at the midpoint of the second half after LaQuinton Ross built on a one-point Buckeyes' advantage with a layup, a triple, two free throws and another three-pointer.

Iowa State capitalized on some uncharacteristically-shaky play from OSU point guard Aaron Craft, who Craft committed two turnovers and missed the front end of two straight one-and-ones to invite ISU back in it.

Craft atoned at the end of a tense final four minutes by calmly holding the ball on the game's final possession, clearing his defender with a faked drive to the basket and swishing the game-winning three-pointer with .2 seconds left.

It was Craft's only three-point attempt of the game and ended an 18-point, six-assist, three-steal, two-turnover performance.

Deshaun Thomas had 22 and Ross 17 for the Buckeyes.

1. No. 1 Ohio State 78, No. 9 Xavier 71 OT (2007)

OSU's only appearance in the NCAA title game since 1962 wouldn't have happened without Ron Lewis' providing the thrilling rescue at the end of regulation in a second-round battle with Xavier.

The Musketeers would have dearly loved to take down Ohio State head coach Thad Matta, who recruited many of them to the Jesuit school before leaving three seasons prior to take over in Columbus.

What would the legacy be for the Thad Five had Lewis not hit that shot, had Mike Conley not scored 11 of his 21 points in overtime to deliver the Buckeyes? We'll never know, and that's a good thing.

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