It's March, and even in conference tournaments, no top seed is guaranteed to move on, and no lead is safe. Ohio State and Tennessee exemplified that by taking down No. 2 Indiana and No. 4 LSU in their respective tournament semifinals.
Here's how it happened:
No. 14 Ohio State knocks off No. 2 Indiana
Indiana took its largest lead of 24 over Ohio State late in the Big Ten semifinal's second quarter. The Buckeyes took its biggest lead of four in the game’s final seconds, notching the largest comeback in tournament history.
Behind a huge second half, fourth-seeded Ohio State knocked off top-seeded Indiana 79-75.
In the first two quarters, the Buckeyes totaled 26 points. In the third quarter alone they scored 27 points, then followed it up with a 26-point fourth quarter.
Taylor Thierry’s 19 points led a balanced Buckeyes offense where five players, including Thierry, reached double digits. Thierry (19 points and 12 rebounds) and Cotie McMahon (12 points and 14 rebounds) recorded double-doubles adding three steals a piece.
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Turnovers killed the Hoosiers, especially in the second half. They committed just four in the first but lost 14 possessions in the second, converting into 19 Buckeyes points.
In a tale of two halves, Ohio State shot 29% and Indiana 53% after the first two quarters; in the second half, the Buckeyes went 42% from the field and Indiana 28%.
Indiana is the third projected No. 1 seed by top-16 committee rankings to get upset in conference tournament play. Utah and Stanford both fell in the Pac-12 quarter and semifinals, respectively.
Ohio State picked up a statement win over a team that bested the Buckeyes twice in the regular season. They’ll face the winner of second-seeded Iowa in the Big Ten conference championship March 5 at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN.
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Tennessee upsets No. 4 LSU
The halftime score of third-seeded Tennessee vs. second-seeded LSU read 40-26 — nothing out of the ordinary. The Tigers were rolling and the Volunteers seemed to fall flat against a ranked opponent.
But like Ohio State, the Vols flipped a switch in the second half to take down LSU 69-67.
LSU led by as much as 17 early in the second period. After a 21-11 third quarter, Tennessee closed the gap to four. The Volunteers continued that momentum in the fourth taking their first lead midway through; they never relinquished control from that moment to complete the upset.
Turnovers plagued Tennessee in the first half as they committed 13 of their total 17 in the first 20 minutes. LSU took advantage scoring 16 points off the turnovers. The Vols also found their stroke later on, upping their percentage from 30% to 47%.
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On the other end, Tennessee turned up its defensive intensity, holding the Tigers to 33% from the field compared to 51% in the first half. LSU committed nine second-half turnovers to match the Vols total.
Rickea Jackson topped all scorers with 26 points and 10 rebounds. That followed a 34-point performance in the quarterfinals over Kentucky. Jordan Horston added 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The Tigers take just their second loss of the season, both from SEC opponents. Meanwhile, the Vols pick up their first ranked win on the season after seven attempts.
Next, Tennessee will face No. 1 South Carolina — the only other team to beat LSU — in the SEC championship game March 5 at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN.