Buford is wild card in OSU's Final Four chances

RUSTY MILLER AP Sports Writer Published:

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- It's hard to imagine that Ohio State has made it to the Final Four -- and its most experienced player and best shooter hasn't been on top of his game.

William Buford, the lone senior on the roster, has been criticized by many Buckeyes' fans for not lighting up the scoreboard in recent games. They look at the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments and see that he's shooting just 35 percent from the field and averaging 11.3 points -- 3 under his season average -- over the last seven games.

They also haven't forgotten how his junior season ended.

But coach Thad Matta, Buford's teammates and even the coach of Ohio State's national semifinal opponent, Kansas, are quick to defend Buford and the contributions he makes to the Buckeyes (31-7).