Well, no big dance for us. But if it’s any consolation prize, the Buckeyes will participate in the Nobody’s In Town Tournament, hosting UNC Asheville in their first game.
The attraction there, of course, is that UNC Asheville’s starting center is 7’8 360lb redshirt junior Kenny George, who leads the nation in blocked shots and the number of wide-eyed gawkers telling themselves “now that guy has got to be 9 feet tall”. George’s 3.4 blocks a game will make him a formidable foe in the paint for Koufos and Othello, though there’s a few caveats to the Kenny George story. Chief among them: Kenny plays only about 20 minutes a game for what appears on what I have seen to be an issue of athleticism. Kenny gets winded rather easily (it appears) and does not get up and down the court with the greatest of ease. Any athleticism on the Buckeyes’ side of the ball will be a definite key to a victory, though the presence of Kenny will be something heretofore without precedent for the Bucks. How the Buckeyes deal with an 8’300 foot sequoia in the paint will be worth watching.
If you’re into that thing.
Of course, Kenny is an important component to UNC Asheville’s team, but he’s far from the only story. UNC Asheville is a great team on their own accord. The Bulldogs were the regular season Big South champions, where a loss to Winthrop in the Big South tournament finale cost them a shot at the Field of 65.
I’m still disappointed that the Bucks didn’t make the Big Dance, though I can’t really complain about the Bucks being left out. Inclusion of the Buckeyes would’ve been charity — appreciated charity — but charity nonetheless. The Bucks have only themselves to blame for the losses to Minnysoda, Iowa and Michigan, which no doubt played a huge hand in costing them an at-large bid. But here’s hoping for a strong run in the NIT to build momentum for the 08-09 campaign, where the inclusion of BJ Mullens at the pivot to compliment Koufos (fingers crossed) should make for a more formidable team. Here’s also hoping for a strong run in the NIT because I need to buy a postseason championship t-shirt of some kind, dammit.
Oh, and for God’s sake people, show up to the first game in Columbus. Max, I’m looking in your direction.