Ohio State Travels to Madison Sqaure Garden for 2008 MasterCard NIT Semifinals

Ohio State senior Jamar Butler ranks first in the Big Ten with six assists per game.

Ohio State senior Jamar Butler ranks first in the Big Ten with six assists per game.

April 1, 2008

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BUCKEYES ADVANCE TO THE BIG APPLE: Ohio State won three straight games to advance to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament to be played this week at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Buckeyes earned their fourth berth in the NIT round of four in school history and first since 1988. Ohio State opened with UNC-Asheville in the firstround and continued to post double-digit victories against California and Dayton to keep their postseason title hopes alive. The Buckeyes will face Mississippi in the national semifinals on Tuesday. This will be the first meeting between the two programs. The victor will face the winner of the Florida-Massachusetts game on Thursday. The Big Ten returns to the NIT semifinals for the first time since the 2006 season when Michigan finished as the runner-up. A Big Ten program has rolled into the NIT semifinals four times in the last eight seasons, as the last conference squad to be crowned NIT champion was Michigan in 2004. The Big Ten has produced six NIT winners overall in Purdue (1974), Indiana (1979), Michigan (1984), Ohio State (1986), Minnesota (1993) and the Wolverines (2004). Michigan recorded the conference's 100th official all-time victory in the event in the second round on March 22, 2004, as the Big Ten now holds a record of 113-60 in 64 appearances.

OSU VERSUS THE NIT FINAL FOUR FIELD: The game with the Rebels will be the first meeting for the Buckeyes against Ole Miss. Ohio State is 28-25 in games vs. Southeastern Conference members. The Buckeyes defeated Florida earlier this year in Columbus, 62-49, and fell to Tennessee 74-69 Jan. 19 in Knoxville. Ohio State faced the Gators in the NCAA championship game last season in Atlanta. The Buckeyes are 6-4 all-time in the Florida series and would meet Massachusetts for the first time.

BADGERS' AND SPARTANS' 2007-08 CAMPAIGNS COMES TO A CLOSE IN SWEET SIXTEEN: In the NCAA Championship, Michigan State and Wisconsin were eliminated in the Sweet 16. The Badgers fell to Davidson in the Midwest Regional, while the Spartans saw their season end to the No. 1 seed in the South as Memphis went on to advance to the Final Four. Over the last two seasons, four of the 10 Big Ten teams that have taken part in the NCAA Tournament have seen their season ended by a No. 1 seed, including three occasions in 2007. Last year, top-seeded Florida knocked out Purdue in the second round, before upending Ohio State in the national title game. No. 1 North Carolina edged Michigan State in the second round to close out the Spartans' season.

HOW "SWEET" IT IS: By advancing to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals last weekend, Michigan State became one of only four teams that has played in more than 50 percent of the Sweet 16's during the last 10 years. The Spartans have made it to the Sweet 16 in six of the last 10 years. MSU equals Kansas and UCLA with six appearances since 1999. Duke leads all teams, making eight trips to the Round of 16 in the last 10 years.



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