Cody Cousino / Photo editor
Ohio State has arrived in New Orleans and sophomore forward Jared Sullinger said the team is ready.
After practicing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Buckeyes met with the media Thursday to discuss Saturday’s Final Four match against Kansas.
OSU (31-7), the NCAA Tournament’s East Regional Champion, will meet the Jayhawks, the Midwest Region champ, with a berth to the National Championship on the line.
Many subjects were discussed, including the grand stage that is the Final Four, the host venue for the event and OSU’s readiness for KU in just a matter of days.
During the media breakout sessions, Sullinger told reporters the team had a good practice and he was confident heading into Saturday’s game.
“I thought in practice here today we had it,” Sullinger said. “I thought we were focused. We weren’t having fun. We came out here and competed as a team … As long as we focus on that and realize that it is one step closer to our dream and take each possession, each second, each ball screen, do everything with a purpose and play hard, I think we have a good chance of winning the basketball game.”
Playing in the Superdome
Fans and pundits alike have speculated about the difficulty of shooting in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Some say the football stadium backdrop behind the baskets could complicate shooting, but OSU sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas said he didn’t have any problems.
“It hasn’t been an adjustment for me,” Thomas said. “I think I shot it pretty well (in practice). They usually say all that space in the backboard can mess up a shooter, but I was knocking them down. I don’t think anything has changed. I was just looking at the rim and everything was falling.”
OSU senior guard William Buford agreed, saying the team had a “great” Thursday practice.
“(Practice) was real intense, and we were getting after it and competing,” Buford said. “It was good for us, but it was a little too fast at the beginning. We had to slow down; people were really excited. After we calmed down, we had a great practice.”
“Do the Hickory”
Ardent basketball fans might recall the scene in the 1986 movie “Hoosiers” where the Hickory Hoosiers high school basketball team first entered the gym that hosted the fictitious 1954 Indiana state championship game.
The players needed coach Norman Dale, played by actor Gene Hackman, to drop a measuring tape from the rim of a basket situated in a large gymnasium in order to prove the dimensions of the playing field were still the same, despite the size of the venue.
OSU sophomore guard Aaron Craft likened the Buckeyes’ games in the Superdome to the Hoosiers’ arrival to their fictional championship venue.
“I think it hits you when you walk in (the Superdome) for practice. You do the Hickory like in the ‘Hoosiers,'” Craft said. “It is a long way away, but once you get used to it, it comes down to another practice.
“It’s another basketball game. There are a lot of outside things going on, but once you get a feel for it, you just understand that it’s another basketball game