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Lawrence North coach becomes reluctant Buckeyes fan

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Greg Oden

Rich Nye/Eyewitness Sports

Indianapolis will be well represented at the Final Four this weekend in Atlanta. The top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes are led by a freshman combo from Lawrence North High School. It's the latest in a long run of success for Greg Oden and Mike Conley.

Posing for championship pictures has become a rite of spring for Greg Oden and Mike Conley. These best friends and teammates won three consecutive state titles at Lawrence North. Now the winning pair try to lead the Ohio State Buckeyes to a national championship.

"What's amazing - they are the heart and soul of that team and they are in the Final Four. It just blows my mind. I understand Lewis is very good and Butler is very good but I don't think they would be there without them," said Lawrence North Coach Jack Keefer.

Keefer coached Oden and Conley at Lawrence North, and he has become a reluctant Ohio State fan.

"I wasn't much of a Buckeye fan before. Gray and red still kinda rubs me wrong, but I'm like a parent when I go to these games because I get mad if they don't throw the ball to Greg and I get mad if he doesn't play Mike enough," he said.

Oden and Conley have won 25 consecutive playoff games in high school and college, 28 if you count the Big Ten tourney. The Buckeyes play Georgetown Saturday.

"All their guys are huge, from one to five, so I mean, coach has talked to us about not trying to go all the way into the paint and finish lay-ups 'cause they'll get blocked and sent the other way," said Conley.

The last time Oden and Conley lost a postseason game was over four years ago when they were high school freshmen. Pike beat Lawrence North in a regional game at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

After this weekend, Oden's next championship might be in the NBA.

"He'll have to make a decision. I think financial-wise and even common sense-wise I think he'll have to go," said Keefer.

NBA rules prevented Oden from going straight to the pros after high school.

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