I like to think that I treat smaller conferences the same way I treat the BCS conferences. To be fair, I should then give the same treatment to BCS schools as I do to the smallest of Division I schools.
Who? The Buckeyes of Ohio State (or, if you insist, the Ohio State University).
Where? Columbus, Ohio, the capital of the state.
When? Sunday the 7th, in Indianapolis, IN.
How? Behind Jantel Lavender, Ohio State came back from an eight-point halftime deficit to win 66-64.
Upset? No. Ohio State won the regular season title, finishing three games ahead of Michigan State.
There are a lot of one-two punches in the NCAA, but few teams rely so heavily on theirs, or have such a potent one as Ohio State does. Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender is an intimidating presence inside on both ends of the floor, averaging a double-double (21.4 points and 10.2 rebounds) and more than one block per game. Sophomore Samantha Prahalis is one of the best point guards in the college game, and one of the most entertaining players to watch; her 7.9 assists per game are second in the nation. Defensive stopper Shavelle Little, a former Big Ten Defensive Player of the year, will be the key player to watch should the Buckeyes come up against a team that relies heavily on a single scorer.
Though the Buckeyes are clearly less comfortable away from the familiar confines of Value City Arena, thirty wins are nothing to sneeze at, and among their victories is a 92-69 drubbing of West Virginia, followed by a 93-72 win over Oklahoma State. No idea how they managed to lose to Indiana, though.
If Ohio State's supporting cast can come along for the ride, the Buckeyes might go far in the tournament. If they're just the Lavender and Prahalis show, and they get the wrong draw... well, let's just say that yours truly picked Marist in 2007, so no Ohio State loss will surprise me come tournament time.