10 Classic Ohio State NCAA Tournament Games Worth Rewatching to Fill the March Madness Void

By Dan Hope on March 21, 2020 at 10:10 am
Musa Jallow
Mark J. Rebilas – USA TODAY Sports

If you’re a college basketball fan, you were probably planning to spend this weekend watching the NCAA Tournament. If you’re an Ohio State basketball fan, you were certainly hoping you’d be watching the Buckeyes compete for a berth in the Sweet 16 this weekend.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus outbreak forced the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament, leaving all of us who love March Madness with a void in our lives – a void exacerbated by just about every other sport in America also going on hiatus, all the while people throughout the country are either being mandated or strongly encouraged to stay home to quell the spread of COVID-19.

CBS and CBS Sports Network are doing their part to try to fill that void in college basketball fans’ lives by replaying a multitude of classic games this weekend and over the next week, but one thing you won’t find on their schedules are any past NCAA Tournament games that featured Ohio State, so that probably won't satisfy your appetite if you’re a Buckeyes fan.

Thanks to the Internet, though, there are plenty of classic Ohio State tournament games – or at least the highlights of games, in some cases – that you can watch if you’re in need of some good memories and a Buckeye basketball fix to cure your NCAA Tournament withdrawal. The following 10 games are among those you might be most inclined to watch again.

1960 National Final: Ohio State 75, California 55

You’ll be hard-pressed to find full video of this game, so the one-minute highlight package above will have to suffice, but we’d be remiss not to include this. Ohio State’s NCAA Tournament final win over California, which took place 60 years ago Thursday, is still the only national championship in program history.

All five Buckeye starters – led by Jerry Lucas, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds – scored in double figures to lead Ohio State to a 20-point win over the Golden Bears and secure the sport’s biggest title.

1999 Regional Final: #4 Ohio State 77, #3 St. John’s 74

Due to the lack of available video of earlier NCAA Tournament games, we fast forward all the way to the final tournament of the 20th century and Ohio State’s 1999 run to the Final Four, its first Final Four run in the 64-team tournament era. While Ohio State is no longer allowed to acknowledge this Final Four run because of NCAA violations, it still stands as one of the most memorable Marches in Ohio State basketball history for those who watched it happen.

The Buckeyes clinched their berth in the 1999 Final Four (where they lost to Connecticut) in the national semifinals) by defeating St. John’s in the Elite Eight in a game that’s certainly worth watching again. While Ohio State never trailed in the game, it had to fend off a late run by the Red Storm, who cut the Buckeyes’ lead to one point in the final minute. Ultimately, though, the Buckeyes prevailed, and you can relive Scoonie Penn and Michael Redd leading them to victory by watching the video above.

2007 Round of 32: #1 Ohio State 78, #9 Xavier 71 (OT)

Ohio State’s most prolific NCAA Tournament run in the last 57 years came in 2007, when the Buckeyes made it back to the national championship game for the first time since 1962, but the Buckeyes had to stave off a near-upset in the first weekend to make that happen.

The No. 1-seed Buckeyes struggled for most of their second-round game against No. 9 seed Xavier, who led by as many as 11 points in the second half. But Thad Matta’s squad rallied for a late comeback against his former squad, and Ron Lewis saved the Buckeyes from elimination by hitting what is now one of the most iconic shots in Ohio State basketball history: a deep 3-pointer, swished with just two seconds left in regulation, to tie the score at 62-62 and send the game to overtime.

Mike Conley scored 11 points in the five-minute extra period to lead the Buckeyes to a 7-point victory that propelled them into the tournament’s second weekend. You can relive their second-half comeback and overtime win, complete with vintage Gus Johnson commentary, in the video above.

2007 Regional Semifinal: #1 Ohio State 85, #5 Tennessee 84

We’re putting back-to-back games on this list of Ohio State tournament classics because the Buckeyes’ Sweet 16 win over Tennessee was another near-upset that turned into a memorable comeback victory.

The Volunteers dominated the first half to take a 17-point lead into the break against the Buckeyes, but Ohio State – led once again by Lewis and Conley – made a run early in the second half to get right back into the game. The game went all the way down to the final second, with both teams trading the lead back-and-forth in the final minutes before Greg Oden blocked Ramar Smith’s shot attempt at the buzzer to allow the Buckeyes to escape with a one-point win.

2007 National Semifinal: #1 Ohio State 67, #2 Georgetown 60

We couldn’t exclude Ohio State’s only Final Four win of the last five decades from this list, so the 2007 squad makes one more appearance for its national semifinal victory over Georgetown.

Even though Oden spent most of the first half on the bench due to foul trouble, Ohio State grinded out a 27-23 halftime lead. Georgetown kept the game close for most of the second half, tying the game at 44-44 with 9:44 left to play, but the Buckeyes made the plays they needed to make down the stretch to clinch their berth in the national championship game.

You might not want to rewatch the title game if you’re an Ohio State fan, as Florida won that 84-75, but the Buckeyes’ win over the Hoyas remains one worthy of celebration.

2012 Regional Final: #2 Ohio State 77, #1 Syracuse 70

Ohio State’s most recent run to the Final Four came in 2012, and while those Buckeyes – like the 2007 Buckeyes – were always viewed as a strong candidate to make it to the big stage, they still had to upset a No. 1 seed to get there.

The game between Ohio State and Syracuse was tied at halftime, 29-29, after Jared Sullinger sat for most of the first half due to foul trouble. The game remained close throughout the second half, but the Buckeyes were able to keep the Orange at bay to finish with a seven-point advantage on the scoreboard, an East Regional final win in Boston and a ticket to that year’s Final Four in New Orleans.

2013 Round of 32: #2 Ohio State 78, #10 Iowa State 75

Ohio State’s 2013 NCAA Tournament run wasn’t as impressive as its 2012 run, as the Buckeyes ultimately suffered an upset loss to Wichita State in the Elite Eight, but it did deliver multiple memorable finishes in Ohio State’s favor along the way, including the signature moment of Aaron Craft’s Buckeye career.

With the game tied at 75 in the final moments, the Buckeyes faced the possibility of a first-weekend upset. Craft kept the game from even going to overtime, though, when he hit a game-winning 3-pointer with less than one second to play, cementing his reputation as a clutch performer for the scarlet and gray.

2013 Regional Semifinal: #2 Ohio State 73, #6 Arizona 70

For the second time on this list, we include back-to-back games because of the memorable nature of how they ended. In Ohio State’s third game of the 2013 NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes were tied with a lower-ranked opponent in the final seconds of the game once again, yet staved off an upset with some late-game heroics.

This time around, it was LaQuinton Ross who delivered – off an assist from Craft – by hitting the game-winning 3-pointer with two seconds left on the clock, and for the second time in seven years, Matta’s Buckeyes survived a scare from his former assistant coach Sean Miller with a spectacular finish to deliver one of Ohio State’s most rewatchable NCAA Tournament games ever.

2015 Round of 64: #10 Ohio State 75, #7 VCU 72 (OT)

D’Angelo Russell’s lone season at Ohio State wasn’t particularly memorable in terms of team success, but his lone NCAA Tournament victory with the Buckeyes – which also ended up being Matta’s final NCAA Tournament victory as Ohio State’s coach – was one to remember.

The game was tightly contested throughout, with neither team leading by more than six points in the second half, and went to overtime after neither team scored in the final 1:17 of regulation. Ohio State never seized full control of the game until four seconds remaining in overtime, when Russell – who played 44 minutes and scored 28 points despite taking an elbow to the face – hit a pair of free throws to give the Buckeyes a 75-70 lead that secured a 10-7 upset win over VCU.

Sadly, there don’t appear to be any lengthy videos of that game available to watch now, but you can see some of the highlights from the win in the highlight package above.

2019 Round of 64: #11 Ohio State 62, #6 Iowa State 59

If you want to watch an NCAA Tournament game featuring most of the Ohio State players you would have been watching in this year’s tournament, this is the game for you, from last year in Tulsa, when the Buckeyes took down Iowa State in the first round for their biggest NCAA Tournament upset win ever.

The 11th-seeded Buckeyes took a two-point lead into halftime, then continued to lead for most of the second half, though Iowa State took a 54-53 lead with less than four minutes to play on a jumper by Marial Shayok. Ohio State finished the game strong, though, with Keyshawn Woods scoring seven of the Buckeyes’ last nine points and Kaleb Wesson grabbing a game-sealing rebound after Iowa State’s Nick Weiler-Babb missed a potential game-tying three in the waning seconds.

If you don’t still have that win saved on your DVR, you can watch nine minutes’ worth of highlights from the Buckeyes’ most recent NCAA Tournament win in the video above.

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