So close, and yet so far away. Syracuse and Ohio State have taken care of business in their first three games of the 2012 NCAA Tournament, and the two teams will do battle in the Elite Eight round in the East bracket at 7:05 p.m. EDT on Saturday at TD Garden. The winner will travel 1,528 miles to the Louisiana Superdome to play in the Final Four.
The Orange and Buckeyes both emerged victorious in the Sweet 16 round, which was held at TD Garden on Thursday night. C.J. Fair scored 15 and the Orange survived a scare against a hot-handed Wisconsin Badgers team, winning 64-63. The Badgers made 14 three-pointers in the game, including seven straight down the stretch in the second half, but the Orange had an answer for all the runs that the Badgers had in them and shut the door.
Ohio State survived its second-half hiccup (when the cools guys came out, as Jared Sullinger said after the game) and eventually cruised past the Cincinnati Bearcats, 81-66, to set up its date with Syracuse. Sullinger had 23 points and 11 boards while Deshaun Thomas scored a game-high 26 to pace the Buckeyes, who trailed by three points (59-56) at one point in the final half before using a 17-1 run to stomp the life out of Cincinnati.