I can't explain why Ohio University beat Georgetown by 14 and you can't either. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out how they even won the MAC tournament. But now they're one of 48 teams left in the country still playing for a championship.
You're going to hear all these astounding facts about Ohio U.'s team, and if you veg out to SportsCenter on a nightly basis you may know many of them by now: they were predicted to finish last in the MAC East. They finished 7-9 in the conference and seeded ninth out of 12 teams in the MAC tourney. They needed overtime to win their first round game at Ball State. Armon Bassett, their leading scorer, transferred from Indiana after being kicked off the team.
Now for some more arcane trivia. Bassett and starting forward DeVaughn Washington began the season suspended, while two other players were also disciplined after being caught with marijuana during a traffic stop, and one of those guys was eventually dismissed from the program.
And that's all you really know. Because none of this equates to a team that even has their shit together, let alone to a team that could hang 98 on the Big East Tournament runners up and then — on a day of myriad buzzer-beaters and center-court dog piles — calmly shake hands with their opponents as if they were supposed to win like this.
This is not the team I saw in person last month. On February 4 the Bobcats beat Toledo 65-58 in overtime. Toledo was a bad, bad team. (I could write 2,000 words on Toledo's season, but I'll relegate it to two numbers: 4 and 28.) For this game Ohio dressed just nine players since Washington was — surprise! — suspended yet again.
But coach John Groce wasn't done dishing out punishments. Ohio's message board says that Bassett was sent to the locker room in the second half for a lack of hustle. I don't recall this, but he was subbed out with plenty of time left and never played again, finishing with five points. As the game progressed, UT's big men kept fouling out (they were literally down to one guy taller than 6'6", and he was a pipecleaner) so by default, Ohio won the game. That near-loss to the awful Rockets was hardly a wake-up call, since their next game was a nine-point loss to Eastern Michigan. There were absolutely no warning signs of Ohio beating Georgetown. So don't feel bad, and simply know that they will play Tennessee in the second round on Saturday.