I present to you, your Big Ten Tournament Champions.. The Ohio State Buckeyes!
First, I hope that everyone had an enjoyable St. Paddy’s Day. Now, on to the game.
OSU began the game with good ball movement, being more selective and efficient with their shooting than in the previous game against Michigan State. Through the first eight minutes, OSU was up 13-8 lead fueled by 6-10 FGs, still no trey attempts. Much better movement through the paint, not settling for perimeter hoists. At the mid point of the 1st half, OSU led 13-10 then things went not-so-well. The Badgers went on a 14-0 tear, abetted by poor OSU shooting. A Sam Thompson field goal ended a nearly 5 minute drought. Wisconsin’s offensive approach of positioning players on perimeter for penetration, ball swing catch & shoots was seemingly working.
Fortunately the Buckeyes mounted a bit of a late half surge to move deficit from 15-24 to 23-24, keyed by 6 points by DeShaun Thomas via going to basket and hitting jumpers. OSU couldn’t sustain their initial hot hand, cooling off to 37% from the field, dragged down by 0-5 from 3′s. Ugh. Two bright spots were; DeShaun found the range in last few minutes of half and Amir Williams was 3-4 from the foul line. That’s not a typo.
Second half was initially back & forth, forth & back, neither team able to make any sustained runs through the first 9 minutes of play, score tied at 35 apiece. At the under-4 timeout, the Buckeyes pulled to a 45-41 lead, driven by a lot of energy at both end of the floor, particularly at the defensive end. The small, fast lineup seems to have it’s place.
The frustrating thing about this team is what I see is their lack of discipline. By that, I mean inability to stay on track. They began the game very well, have a nice lead at the 8 minute mark, shooting 60% from the field with no 3-pt attempts. Throughout the balance of the game, they went 1-16 from beyond the arc. Disgraceful.
On a positive commentary, I saw this as a coming out party for Williams and Ross. Another note is the balanced scoring by Ohio State. DeShaun Thomas 17 points, Aaron Craft 9 points, , Sam Thompson 8 points, Amir Williams 5 points and LaQuinton Ross 7 points and Lenzelle Smith points. And the defense, oh my, the defense.. If the Buckeyes had focus issues on offense, they more than made up for it on defense. It was a thing of beauty, well done guys.
1. We won.
2. Improved all around play by Amir Williams and LaQuinton Ross
3. Defensive effort
1. Not many.
2. Slow, very slow start offensively; this is nothing we haven’t seen, but still playing with fire with slow starts
3. Inadequate perimeter defense, Wisconsin had way too many open, uncontested catch & shoots.
The Buckeyes will next play in the NCAA Tournament on either Thursday or Friday. Stay tuned for more information on OSU’s seeding and matchup.