NCAA Tournament First Round Preview

March 12, 2012 by staff 

NCAA Tournament First Round Preview, To be clear: Michigan and Ohio State are not meeting in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Even if some Wolverines might think that’s the case.

Michigan’s habit of referring to Ohio State as “Ohio” came home to roost Sunday night with the first-round NCAA Tournament matchup between No. 4 seed Michigan and the No. 13-seeded Ohio Bobcats in Nashville, Tenn., set for Friday.

“That’s gonna be really confusing for them,” OSU men’s basketball coach Thad Matta said with a laugh.

It might not be so funny to Ohio. The Bobcats will be looking to steal some respect and deliver a backhanded blow in the OSU-Michigan rivalry.

The Post, a student newspaper in Athens, Ohio, quoted Ohio basketball coach John Groce in February as saying the reference was “kind of disrespectful” to the Bobcats. Groce was an assistant under Matta at Ohio State before taking the Bobcats’ head coaching job.

“You can’t control what other people say,” Groce told the paper. “You can only control what you’re doing on a daily basis. That’s how we operate here, and I can assure you that’s how coach Matta operates in Columbus. For me, it’s almost comical. They’re going to say what they’re going to say.”

Michigan football coach Brady Hoke started the reference when he was hired in Ann Arbor last year. Michigan men’s basketball coach John Beilein picked up on it as well, though he had to catch himself from referring to the Buckeyes as “Ohio State” during a postgame news conference in Columbus on Jan. 29.

“I can’t tell how it happened,” Beilein said the next day. “It’s just sort of happened, with the ‘Beat Ohio.’ I hear [Buckeyes fans] yelling, ‘Ohio,’ ‘Ohio,’ so we just call them ‘Ohio.’ “

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