There's Nothing Sweet About These Ohio State Losses

Bruce Hooley

Ohio State's Sweet 16 history is one with more highs than lows and more streaks than valleys or peaks.

The Buckeyes have a 10-5 career record in the regional semifinals since the Lucas-Havlicek era in 1960, but that success traces largely to winning the first five NCAA Tournament games they played at that level.

The Buckeyes have since been a .500 team, splitting 10 games in the Sweet 16, suffering a pair of three-game losing streaks, but offsetting that with a pair of two-game winning streaks.

OSU currently rides a hot streak should it weather the first and second rounds of the Tournament next season, having advanced to both the 2012 and 2013 Elite Eight.

Here are the three most painful Buckeye failures short of getting through the regional semis, none of which have occurred over the last decade.

3. No. 4 St. John's 91, No. 1 OSU 74 (1991 Midwest Regional)

The Big Ten champion Buckeyes were thoroughly outclassed in what at the time stood as the school's worst loss in NCAA history. Jim Jackson and Company found scoring points difficult over the season's final 10 games and could not keep up with St. John's, which cashed repeated layup opportunities against backcourt pressure.

Jackson tried to will OSU to the win with 19 points, but he could not keep up with St. John's 63% shooting.

2. No. 8 UCLA 72, No. 4 Ohio State 68 (1980 West Regional)

The Eldon Miller era is awash in talented teams that underachieved and middling teams that overachieved and this failure leads the pack.

How do you shoot 54%, hold the opponent to 42%, only lose the rebounding battle by two and the turnover battle by four and still lose?

Eldon magic, that's how.

UCLA did OSU the favor of knocking off No. 1 DePaul in the second round, but with "Rocket" Rod Foster and 6-6 center Mike Sanders each scored 19 points, managed to outlast Miller's most talented team.

All-American guard Kelvin Ransey scored 29 in his final college game. Center Herb Williams managed only 10 despite a four-inch height advantage over Sanders.

UCLA advanced to the NCAA championship game, where it lost to Louisville.

All of the Bruins' post-season accomplishments for that season were later erased for nine NCAA rules violations.

1. No. 6 Tennessee, No. 2 OSU 73 (2010 Midwest Regional)

Bruce Pearl and the Volunteers got their revenge three years after the Buckeyes' 20-point comeback in the Sweet 16 paved the way to the Final Four.

This time, OSU needed someone to support Evan Turner's 31 points, but his teammates shot only 3-of-16 in the second half to come up short.

Turner's three-pointer with 42 seconds left gave the Buckeyes a one-point lead, but Brian Williams tipped in a missed shot with 32 seconds left and that proved the difference.

Turner missed twice in the time that remained, but what really killed Ohio State was Jon Diebler's 1-of-7 shooting from three-point range, allowing Tennessee to get to the Elite Eight for the first time in school history.

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The 2011 Sweet 16 loss to Kentucky was brutal. That was the one of the best - if not the best - Ohio State team assembled in recent memory. It should have been listed.


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