Wednesday, March 24, 1999

Ohio State's Final Four history

        • 1939 (16-7): Ohio State's first NCAA Tournament team made it all the way to the national championship game — the first ever sponsored by the NCAA — before losing to Oregon 46-33. Forward Jimmy Hull, the second All-American in Buckeyes history, was the star for coach Harold Olsen's third Big Ten championship team.

        • 1944 (15-6): Williamstown, Ky., native Arnie Risen, a 6-foot-9

        • 1945 (15-5): With Risen again the star, the Buckeyes finished fourth again, beating Kentucky but then losing to New York University in overtime 70-65.

        • 1946 (16-5): A third straight Final Four trip again ended without a championship, though the Buckeyes moved up to third by beating California in the consolation game. It was the last season for Olsen, whose 24 years are the longest tenure of any OSU coach.

        1960 (25-3): The first of three straight trips to the title game was capped by Ohio State's only national championship. Led by Middletown's Jerry Lucas, who averaged 26.3 points and 16.3 rebounds in 1960, and fellow sophomores John Havlicek (who averaged 14.5 points and later starred in the NBA with the Celtics) and Mel Nowell (who averaged 13.1 points), the Buckeyes beat California 75-55 in the championship game.

        • 1961 (27-1): Lucas averaged 25 points and 17.4 rebounds and was national player of the year for the second straight year, while Havlicek averaged 14.5 points and Nowell 13.6. The Buckeyes held the nation's No.1 ranking most of the season but lost in the championship game to Cincinnati 70-65 — their only loss that season.

       1962 (26-2): Lucas, Havlicek and Nowell finished their careers

        1968 (21-8): Dave Sorenson's short bank shot off an inbounds pass led the Buckeyes over Kentucky 82-81 in a thriller in Lexington to reach the Final Four. They fell to fourth-ranked North Carolina in the semifinals and went on to beat previously top-ranked Houston 89-85 in the consolation game for third place. Forward Bill Hosket capped his stellar career by averaging 20.1 points and 11.4 rebounds before moving on to the Olympics and the New York Knicks.

        • 1999 (27-8): In a remarkable turnaround, coach Jim O'Brien, point guard Scoonie Penn and shooting guard Michael Redd have led the Buckeyes from an 8-22 season in 1998 to the Final Four.


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