The Free Press, Mankato, MN

NCAA Basketball

March 31, 2012

Kansas, Ohio State meet in 'The Other Game'

NEW ORLEANS —  Welcome to "The Other Game" at the Final Four.OK, so, the Ohio State-Kansas matchup may not have the fantastic freshmen, the outspoken coaches or blood-feud story line of the opening semifinal between Kentucky and Louisville. But this one still should be worth a two-hour investment in front of the TV set Saturday night.

Besides the chance to watch two top-line teams play for a spot in the national title game, the Buckeyes-Jayhawks game offers a rare opportunity to see two All-Americans going at it with everything on the line.

Ohio State is led by Jared Sullinger, the sophomore forward who missed the first matchup between these teams with a bad back. Kansas' best player is Thomas Robinson, who had 21 points and seven rebounds in the Jayhawks' 78-67 win on Dec. 10.

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

In fact, it's Kentucky's Anthony Davis who took player of the year awards from The Associated Press and college basketball writers Friday. But while Davis is a story of an ultra-talented freshman trying to lead his team to a championship in what likely will be his only year with the Wildcats, Sullinger and Robinson approach college in a different way.

At one point last season, Sullinger was viewed as a surefire lottery pick, a one-and-done prospect with nothing much left to prove in college. He never saw it that way, however, and when Ohio State was eliminated from last year's tournament as a No. 1 seed, the 6-foot-9 forward committed to staying in college.

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