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Kansas' Jeff Withey Comes Up Big Against Ohio State When Jayhawks Need Him Most

The Kansas versus Ohio State match-up was mostly centered on two players coming into the contest. Thomas Robinson and Jared Sullinger are both considered among the greatest college basketball players in the country, so it’s no surprise that no one was even thinking of Jeff Withey as an MVP candidate for tonight’s national semi-final in the Final Four in New Orleans. But looking back on tonight’s match-up. it’s clear that Withey was the man for Kansas in their 64-62 victory over the Buckeyes.

ESPN’s Eamon Brennan writes, “Every Jayhawk played a role in their comeback and eventual win, and Robinson’s night — 19 points, 8 rebounds, 8-of-18 from the field — can’t be overlooked. But the most important performance came from the 7-foot Withey, whose incredible reach and interior defense made Sullinger a non-factor on the offensive end. Withey finished with seven 7 and 8 rebounds; Sullinger posted just 13 points on 5-of-19 from the field. In a game filled with tricky matchup issues, Withey was the biggest mismatch ace up Bill Self’s sleeve. He proved why Saturday night.”

Withey had 10 blocks against NC State and has stepped up big time as the season has progressed. He’s moved himself into a possible first round draft pick given his size and defensive presence, and Withey clearly has a higher ceiling than most believed. The Jayhawks hope he has one more great night in him in the 2011-12 season.

Go check out Rock Chalk Talk for all things regarding Kansas hoops and go visit Along the Olentangy for more Ohio State basketball. For more on the 2012 NCAA Basketball tournament, head over to SB Nation's March Madness hub for all things NCAA basketball.