What changed between that win at Toledo and the win against Georgetown, other than daylight savings? The only oddity I can find is Bassett. He was always a great talent, but he somehow turned it up to 11. Since the beginning of the MAC Tournament he's averaged 29.6 points per game, 11.6 of them via free throws. This is way above his regular season average of 15.2, which is a fine total but only enough to earn him All-MAC honorable mention. Ohio's other player to get this accolade was freshman point guard D.J. Cooper, who actually looks more like a high school freshman. His professional-grade lefthanded move to the basket helped him score 23 on the Hoyas, and games like that are probably why he was named the MAC's top freshman.
But other than that, there are no other aberrations that can be highlighted. Except for, y'know, all these freaking wins.
Going back to my MAC quarterfinal game predictions, I casually chose Kent State to cruise past Ohio, since the Golden Flashes were the top seed and they beat them twice already. Instead, the Bobcats rolled by 18. Then in a rare low-scoring game, they ripped apart Miami University by 12 and eked out an overtime victory over Akron to qualify for March Madness.
I guess suspending four players to start the season worked out pretty well. You may see lots of schools try this next year out of superstition.
But Ohio's victory is going to be branded more as a failure by the Hoyas and an indictment on the depth of the Big East. I would make the same conclusion as a non-MAC alumnus, because it's a more rational way to explain how, again, a 7-9 MAC team destroyed the Big East Tournament runners up.
Aside: it would be nice if ESPN would stop using "went 7-9 in the MAC" as a synonym for "has a prosthetic leg."
And the Big East really did get the sharp end of the enema on Thursday. Beyond Georgetown's loss, matching 6-seeds Marquette and Notre Dame were tripped up by 11th-seeded counterparts Washington and Old Dominion. Villanova eluded a speaking-in-front-of-a-large-crowd-naked nightmare by squeezing out an overtime win over 15-seed Robert Morris after trailing for most of the game. And this really is one of the more compelling storylines, provided you love vanilla ice cream.