Published Sun, Mar 11, 2012 9:39 pm Dateline
Updated Mon, Mar 12, 2012 6:35 pm
The Bobcat players didn't have to sweat their names being selected for the NCAA tournament courtesy of the automatic bid they received by beating Akron Saturday night in the MAC title game. But unlike Ohio's tournament draw in 2009, when their selection was revealed in the first 10 minutes of CBS's 'Selection Show', they had to sit and wait until the final region was announced this time around.
"I was more nervous for this than I was the entire MAC tournament," said a relieved Stevie Taylor afterwards.
Going in to the announcement ceremony at the Baker Center Lounge, Ohio players and coaches expected to receive a 13 or 14 seed by the time the brackets were revealed. Every time one of those seed lines were matched up with its higher seeded opponent, players, coaches and fans alike sat on pins and needles waiting for Ohio's name to appear on the screen. First, it was Indiana's matchup. Then it was Louisville's. After that, it was Wisconsin. Nope, nope and nope. Finally, the Midwest region was revealed and there it was 'Ohio' on the 13 seed line against 4th seeded Michigan. A Big Ten opponent whom a few Ohio players are quite familiar with.
First, there's red-shirt Junior Walter Offutt. Two seasons removed from playing basketball in Columbus for Ohio State University--a team familiar with its maize and blue rival.
"Oh yeah. I know some of their tendencies on offense, they run a lot of motion, back cutting and stuff like that, they shoot the three ball very well on all five spots. So we gotta be prepared to stop the three ball," said Offutt.
Offutt's familiarity extends to players on the team he played high school ball with in his home state of Indiana.
"i've got a couple friends on the team, that I played highschool ball with, AAU ball with. Stewart Douglas and Zach Novak. They're Indiana guys so I know them quite well. I actually got a text from em right after we got picked. It should be a great matchup," Offutt said.
Next, is freshman guard Stevie Taylor who made a name for himself in the Columbus area playing high school ball at Gahanna-Lincoln. While starring for the Lions, Taylor matched up many times against his friend and current Michigan freshman guard Trey Burke. A former high school star at Columbus Northland.
"Every time we play we have a good time out there," Taylor said regarding Michigan's electric freshman, Burke. "We are always competing with eachother. We've played against each other since 3rd grade. It should be a fun game. But once we get to Nashville, there's no friends."
Lastly, there's Ohio sophomore guard Nick Kellogg, who's dad, Clark, starred for Ohio State's basketball team from 1979-82. Obviously being born and raised a Buckeye, there's plenty of familiarity and not much love, for Michigan.
"Michigan isn't a very well-liked state in Ohio. So that adds to the motivation a little bit. But i'm just ready to go, it’s a great opportunity all the guys are blessed and I'm really looking forward to it."
A Kellogg on the court, a Kellogg on the call?: After the selection ceremony at the Baker Center Lounge, Nick Kellogg said there's a possibility his dad, Clark Kellogg, color analyst for CBS sports, could be on the call for his game Friday in Nashville. According to Kellogg, there's no rule against a father calling a son's game. In fact, his father Clark will be randomly assigned a playing site for the coming NCAA Tournament. So, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Clark will be calling Nick's game with Ohio, against Michigan on Friday.