3.18.12 NCAA Tournament: Ohio U vs. USF
The Bobcats second game of the Tourney came against the South Florida Bulls who had advanced to this round by way of a play in game and a round-of-64 victory over fifth seeded Temple. While a 13 seed upending a 12 seed might not be quite as sexy as say a 15 upsetting a 2, the Bobcats were able to become the only mid-major other than Xavier (a perennial tournament contender) to make it to the Sweet Sixteen, the first time the Bobcats had made it that far since the 1964 season.
At first it seemed as though South Florida would be able to use their superior athleticism to over power OU, but the Bobcats were able to clamp down on defense, which has been the strong suit of this team all year round.
At the time of the Cats’ tournament run there had been a few murmurs that Coach Groce might not be staying in Athens next season. However, most dismissed those rumors to focus on the tournament. But, here we are in the first week of April and Groce is the new coach of the Fighting Illini and OU has just welcomed former TCU and Kent State coach Jim Christian to take his place. Groce became OU’s head coach right before I began my academic career at Ohio, so I have never shot a men’s basketball game with anyone besides for John Groce leading the Bobcats. So, it’s a little weird to think that this was the last game I’ll ever shoot with John Groce sporting the green and white.
But, nevertheless it was a great way for Groce to go out, taking the team to heights it hasn’t enjoyed in years. I didn’t get the chance to go shoo the Bobcats’ next game in St. Louis thanks to my nagging illness at the time, but I’m kind of okay with ending the season on a high note.