NEW ORLEANS -- Much has been made of the fact that Ohio State was without Jared Sullinger when it lost at Kansas in December, and the Buckeyes will be at full strength for Saturday's rematch. What few realize is how much Jayhawks point guard Tyshawn Taylor was hurting in that first meeting.
Taylor had 13 assists but scored only nine points, shot 3-for-9 and committed seven turnovers. Although he didn't want to make an excuse, Taylor Thursday said he hurt the knee a week before that game but waited to have arthroscopic surgery until the day after the game.
"I had to wear a big brace," Taylor said of the first meeting. "I was really uncomfortable. It played a big part that people don't really recognize because we didn't tell anybody I was hurt until after the game."
Taylor also might be inspired by the presence in the Superdome crowd of Bob Hurley Sr., his coach at St. Anthony in Jersey City, where Taylor was one of seven players to get a scholarship at a Division I school after going 33-0 and winning the mythical national title.
"He was huge for me," he said of Hurley. "I never really had too many male figures in my life, and he became one of the first who I could talk to and who demanded a lot from me and who I wanted to please. I didn't want to get in trouble because I would worry even before my mother how coach Hurley would be . . . I came to a really good college program prepared to play right away because I was so prepared in high school by him. I'm excited to see him this weekend."