(USA TODAY) -- There might or might not be any shockers at the Final Four in Atlanta, but there will be Shockers.
Wichita State Shockers.
For the first time in 48 years.
A lot of people said just about anything might happen in this supposedly wide-open tournament, and that was especially true of the West Regional, where the Nos. 1, 3, 4 and 5 seeds didn't survive the first weekend.
Then No. 2 seed Ohio State went down Saturday, despite an amazing, heart-pounding rally late in the second half.
No. 9 seed Wichita State, after blowing nearly all of a 20-point second-half lead, held on for a 70-66 victory.
At the Final Four, the Shockers (30-8) will play the winner of Sunday's Louisville-Duke Midwest Regional final. They will be the only mid-major team at the Final Four, but they are not Cinderella, said Shockers coach Gregg Marshall.
"Cinderellas are usually done at this stage," Marshall said. "If you get to this stage, you can win it all."
Ohio State, which trailed 56-36 with 11 minutes left, got as close as three points down the stretch, but the suddenly shocked Shockers made just enough plays to secure the win.
"That takes courage and toughness," Marshall said of Wichita State's ability to hold off the Buckeyes in the final frantic minutes. "I didn't know if we would score against them, but these guys found a way and made the plays when they had to down the stretch to give us a chance to go to Atlanta and compete for a national championship."
This was Wichita State's first regional final in 32 years, and the Shockers will be going to the Final Four for the second time in school history. In 1965, they lost a national semifinal to John Wooden's second championship team at UCLA.
The Most Outstanding Player of that Final Four? Bill Bradley, Princeton. Yeah, it was that long ago.
Ohio State (29-8) had won its last 11 games but was knocked on its heels from the start by the more aggressive Shockers.
"We weren't very good to start the game," Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. "Give Wichita State credit. Tremendous, unbelievable basketball team. They're playing as well as any team we've played this year."
For three-quarters of the game, Wichita State was significantly better in nearly every category, especially rebounding, holding a double-digit advantage much of the game.
And Ohio State shot miserably most of the game - around 25% for a long time. Overall, the Buckeyes shot 31.1%.
"It wasn't our night," said the Buckeyes' leading scorer, forward Deshaun Thomas, who finished with 23 points but missed nine of 13 shots in the first half, when the Buckeyes shot 24.2% and went to the locker room trailing 35-22.
Wichita State point guard Malcolm Armstead, from the start, got the better of his more heralded counterpart, Ohio State's Aaron Craft, and that set a tone.
Armstead had 14 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Craft missed 10 of 12 shots and finished with nine points, seven rebounds and two assists.
"He's the head of the monster," Armstead said of Craft. "I knew if I was able to match what he brought, I could numb the body."
Marshall wasn't the only one who thought what he said after the game: "That is worth the price of admission, Aaron Craft and Malcolm Armstead going head to head."
Said Craft: "They came out firing, and we never really kind of regained our balance until it was too late."
The first two possessions of the game showed how it was going to be.
Wichita State forward Carl Hall blocked Ohio State's first shot attempt, a drive by Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Then Ohio State center Amir Williams blocked Wichita State's first shot attempt, a drive by Armstead.
Two of the toughest defenses in the country were going to go at it with intensity.
Ohio State missed its first seven shots, and not because the Buckeyes are terrible shooters. They just had a hard time finding a shot attempt that didn't come with a Wichita State hand in their faces.
The Shockers weren't exactly lighting it up offensively, either, as the game lumbered along with scores of 9-7 and 13-13 and, with eight minutes to go in the half, 17-15 Wichita State.
Then, out of nowhere, the Shockers exploded to an 8-0 run in 58 seconds to take a 10-point lead.
The Buckeyes had a hard time responding, as Thomas and Craft were ice cold and so were some of their teammates as the Shockers successfully played both man-to-man and zone defenses.
Early in the second half, the Shockers extended the lead, and when Wichita State guard Ron Baker was fouled on a three-point attempt and made all three free throws, the Shockers had a 20-point lead - 51-31 - with 12:39 left.
With 11 minutes left, it was 56-36. Then, a turning point, as Shockers forward Cleanthony Early, a key rebounder and offensive go-to guy who would finish with 12 points and seven rebounds, sprained an ankle and left the game.
When he returned after a trip to the locker room, an X-ray and a re-tape job, it was a 10-point game with 7:41 left.
By this time, the Buckeyes had all the momentum and the crowd behind them, and they would cut the lead to three points - 62-59 - with 2:48 left.
Then, Wichita State guard Tekele Cotton made two huge plays - a three-pointer that extended the lead back to six and, on the next possession, an offensive rebound that allowed teammate Fred Van Vleet to hit a jumper for a six-point lead with one minute left. Ohio State never got closer than that until a three-pointer by Craft with eight seconds left accounted for the final four-point margin.
"Tekele is a warrior," Marshall said. "He's a strong safety. He would come up on run support."
They were all warriors, Early said about the Shockers staying together and not panicking.
"It not about how many times you've been knocked down," Early said. "It's about how many times you get up."
The Shockers got back up just enough, and when the clock finally had zeroes on it, the Shockers felt a combination of huge relief and unbridled joy.
Maybe a few weeks ago, few people knew who they were. Now, people know they're the team that throttled Pittsburgh and then knocked off the No.1 and No.2 seeds, and is headed to Atlanta.
"We might not be better than them 365 days, but 40 minutes is all it takes," Armstead said. "If you're better for 40 minutes than the other team, that's all that matters."