After a closer than comfortable win against Northwestern, Ohio State now travels to the Kohl Center and one of the more hostile environment in the B1G. Ah, good times with Bucky once again.
Today’s game is scheduled for 1 PM EST on the CBS. The LiveBlog is scheduled to start 15 minutes before tip.
Ohio State’s men’s basketball team will likely find itself in unfamiliar territory on Sunday as a home underdog.
The Buckeyes, coming off of a 74-64 road victory against Purdue on Tuesday, will host arch rival and undefeated Michigan on Sunday.
Along with Duke, Michigan has been the most impressive team in the country so far this season. The Wolverines feature a balanced scoring attack, led by player of the year candidate Trey Burke.
Michigan has four players who average in double digit scoring: Burke at 18.2 points per game, Tim Hardaway Jr. with 16.3, Nik Stauskas at 13.5 and Glenn Robinson III with 12.6.
As much as it may pain Buckeye fans to admit, Michigan seems like it is on a mission to not only win the Big Ten title, but contend for a national title as well.
However, this game on Sunday is in Columbus. After being embarrassed by Illinois, the Buckeyes rebounded nicely against Purdue and played a pretty solid game. They will need a near perfect game on Sunday to beat the Wolverines and I have got five keys for Ohio State to defeat Michigan:
1. Points from players not named Deshaun Thomas: This is the theme of the season for Ohio State against good teams. Deshaun Thomas cannot beat Michigan alone as the Wolverines are too good. He will need some help. Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross seem to be the likely candidates who can score the basketball at times for OSU. They will likely need at least two of these three guys in double digits to have a chance. Read More
This past week featured some prime time match-ups. It also gave us the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and Big East/SEC Challenge. A major top ten power player loses major ground and the “Mid-Majors” tried to hold their own. This week the Top 25 takes a lighter schedule in hopes to regroup after the previous week’s battle scars. Here’s a look at the Top 25 Week Ahead and Week in Review.
1. Indiana (8-0) Previous Rank: 1
Past Week: 11/27 North Carolina, W 83-59 & 12/1 Coppin State, W 87-51
Upcoming: 12/8 Central Connecticut State
The Hoosiers are coming off a big win against the Tar Heels in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. They look to continue their undefeated season as heavy favorites against Central Connecticut State
2. Duke (8-0) Previous Rank: 5
Past Week: 11/28 Ohio State, W 73-68 & 12/1 Delaware, 88-50
Upcoming: 12/8 Temple
Duke battled back in the second half to knock of Ohio State at Cameron Indoor. Neither team played exceptionally well but in the end the Cameron Crazies left happy.
3. Michigan (7-0) Previous Rank: 4
Past Week: 11/27 (18) N.C. State, W 79-72 & 12/1 Bradley, W 74-66
Upcoming: 12/4 Western Michigan & 12/8 Arkansas
In another intriguing Big Ten/ACC Challenge match up the Wolverines knocked off the Wolf Pack to hand N.C. State their second loss on the season.
4. Ohio State (5-1) Previous Rank: 3
Past Week: 11/28 @ (2) Duke, L 68-73 & 12/1 Northern Kentucky, W 70-43
Upcoming: 12/8 Long Beach State
The Buckeyes couldn’t overcome a poor night of shooting in their loss to Duke but followed up the loss with a commanding win over Northern Kentucky.
5. Louisville (6-1) Previous Rank: 2
Past Week: 12/1 Illinois State, W 69-66
Upcoming: 12/4 @Charleston & 12/8 Missouri-Kansas City
Coming off a loss to Duke the Cardinals looked to punish Illinois State, instead they had to survive a scare to improve to 6-1. Read More
I know, I know. Ohio State has only played five games this season, but we learned quite a bit from last night’s 73-68 loss to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
I am not one for moral victories. The bottom line here is that this was a winnable basketball game for the Buckeyes and a lot of question marks were raised during that second half in which Duke outscored OSU, 50-37.
With that said, you have to look at the bigger picture here. This was a game played early in the season in one of the most difficult environments in all of sports. Duke is a really good team–it had already defeated Louisville and Kentucky before last night.
The better team (at least right now) probably won last night. Come March, though, it may be a different situation.
Obviously, this is not college football. A loss in November does not hurt you come March. What it does, though, is show some early positives and negatives this team needs to work on to reach its ultimate goal.
Here are five things we learned from last night’s loss to the Blue Devils:
1. It is obvious this team is going to struggle to score outside of Deshaun Thomas. So, my question from last night is why was the offense not running through him in the second half when the Buckeyes needed offense? He is the type of player who needs to touch the ball every time down the floor in crunch time situations. As much as well all want Aaron Craft to be an offensive threat, he cannot be relied on for that. It is not his game. He clearly has the potential to have big scoring games, but you simply cannot ask that of him every night. Deshaun Thomas needed many more touches last night.
2. Ohio State can hang with any team in the country because of its defense. The Buckeyes defend at an elite level. Craft, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson and Lenzelle Smith Jr. on the perimeter can lock down anybody. Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams can do well enough to defend the interior too. This Ohio State team will get after you and they will do it relentlessly for 40 minutes.
3. What happened to LaQuinton Ross? Did he do something at halftime to not deserve to be on the floor during that second half Duke run? It was blatantly obvious that nobody else except for Deshaun Thomas could put the ball in the basket, but Ross had some success in that first half. He finished the game with nine points, but he played just 11 total minutes. When this offensive struggle happens in a future game to OSU (it will, trust me), Ross needs to see some more playing time because he’s the only other player capable of creating his own offense.
4. For a team with not a ton of size, Ohio State is an outstanding rebounding team. Every player on the floor crashes the glass, which is something I loved seeing. Craft, Smith and Thompson are outstanding rebounders for their size on the perimeter. The three of them combined for 17 rebounds last night. Because OSU doesn’t have a ton of size, it will need those three to crash the glass on a consistent basis throughout the season.
5. My final observation is something that may not be fixable this year. The Buckeyes don’t have a knockdown shooter from deep. Deshaun Thomas is probably the best 3-point shooter in the rotation, and he is only a 35.8% shooter for his career. Obviously, Jon Diebler type players do not just grow on trees, but the 3-point shot is a huge part of college basketball. While OSU’s perimeter players are great defenders and very athletic, they struggle shooting the three. This could be a troubling issue all season long.
Overall, I liked what I saw from Ohio State last night. This could come off as somewhat negative feedback, but I hold the Buckeyes to a high standard. Expectations are always high at Ohio State and in order to be a Final Four team, OSU needs to learn from last night’s game.
The Buckeyes have five more games they should win before the Dec. 22 date with Kansas. I don’t know about you, but I’m counting down the days until OSU gets to play the Jayhawks again.
People like lists.
Whether they agree with them or not, people still enjoy reading lists.
Basketball is the ultimate team sport. But, at the same time, it is one that can be taken over by a single player. There have been some incredible individual performances over the past couple of seasons in the Big Ten and this year should bring more of the same.
The 2012-2013 season seems to have the Big Ten as strong as it’s ever been. Three teams (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan) are all ranked in the top five in preseason polls.
On those great teams obviously are some outstanding players. So here are my top ten players in the Big Ten conference for this upcoming season.
10. Brandon Paul (SG, Illinois)
Those unforgettable individual performances from last season I mentioned earlier in this column? Yeah, Brandon Paul had one of those when he lit up Ohio State for 43 points. The senior guard averaged 14.7 points per game last year and is as solid of an all-around player as you will find in the Big Ten. This will be Paul’s senior season for the Illini and knowing they have a player of his caliber on the floor, you can never count the Illini out of any game.
9. Keith Appling (PG, Michigan State)
With Draymond Green finally departing from East Lansing, the Spartans become Appling’s team. Appling averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists per game last year, and with Green gone and it being his team this year, there should be a jump in those stats this year. Head coach Tom Izzo will have his Spartans right in the thick of things again this year in the Big Ten and Appling will be his best player.
8. Christian Watford (F, Indiana)
Watford may have already had his moment in his college career when he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer last year to knock off No. 1 and eventual national champion Kentucky. You learned a lot about Watford’s game with that shot, though. He’s absolutely fearless and he’s got a smoothness to his game that is fun to watch. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a year ago while shooting 43.7% from deep. Watford will no doubt be a key component to Indiana’s national title run.
7. Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, Michigan)
Hardaway Jr. had somewhat of a disappointing sophomore season after an outstanding freshman campaign. But, that doesn’t take away from his talent. He’s a sensational all-around player who averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago. If Michigan wants to be an elite team this year, it will need more production out of the junior guard.
6. Trevor Mbakwe (F, Minnesota)
I had a difficult time trying to figure out where to rank Mbakwe as he comes back from tearing his ACL and only playing in seven games last year. In those seven games, Mbakwe averaged 14 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. If he is fully recovered, he is easily a candidate to be an All-American. He can be a dominating force in the paint, but once again, the question is his health. Read More
Looking for the best athlete in the Big Ten? Ohio State’s Slam, I mean Sam, Thompson is that guy.
Out of high school, Thompson came into Ohio State with the reputation of being a high flyer and during his freshman campaign for the Buckeyes he proved just that.
Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
High School: Whitney Young
- 10.6 MPG
- 2.1 PPG
- 1.1 RPG
- 49.3 FG% (34/69)
He showed himself very capable of making the highlight reel play on the offense side of the ball and to be a solid defender as well. He has all of the tools to become a lock down perimeter defender this season.
Thompson will still be coming off of the bench for the Buckeyes in 2012, but his role will have to change a bit. A lot more will be asked of him offensively. Thad Matta said yesterday at Big Ten media day in Chicago that Thompson has worked extremely hard on his offensive game, specifically his jump shot. And he needed to. Watching Thompson shoot the ball was painful at times as he seemed to have absolutely no confidence in his jumper.
While there is a lot of doubt about Thompson’s jump shot and overall offensive game, nobody questions his game-changing athletic ability. Just take a look at this dunk he threw down against Indiana last year:
And because we all love watching Thompson dunk so much, here’s one more video from a few weeks back when CBS’ Seth Davis visited an OSU practice and wanted Thompson to dunk over him: Read More
With week one of fall camp almost in the books at Ohio State, the anticipation for football season is reaching a fever pitch.
If you aren’t feeling the love for football just yet, read this article and get back to me. Seriously, I highly recommend that you read it (like you are doing anything important at work this Friday morning/afternoon anyway).
And yes, read the whole thing- I know it’s long.
The article sets the perfect tone for the rapidly approaching Urban Meyer era at Ohio State. Bowl game or no, you have to love the direction this team is moving in under Meyer’s leadership (no giggle-f**** allowed).
There is no doubt that Urban Meyer can take the team to the top, and if that doesn’t have you excited I don’t want to be your friend anymore. With that said, let’s all hope he can keep his promise to his family and maintain a balance in his life this time around.
The article paints a scary picture of Meyer’s obsession with perfection at Florida. It will clearly be a constant battle for him to control that obsession in Columbus.
We all obviously want the Buckeyes to be perfect each season, but we don’t want to achieve that at the expense of Meyer’s health and family life.
I am optimistic that he can find the right balance.
As the author writes:
But he still felt empty. He’d ask, “Is this it?” He missed the ability to make an impact; he’d gotten into coaching to be a teacher. A challenge grew from his trip to West Point: What if he could have the feeling of Bowling Green on the scale of Florida?
Ohio State gives Meyer exactly the opportunity he is looking for: returning to his Buckeye coaching roots and competing at the highest level of college football.
By using that seemingly perfect situation to maintain a healthy perspective, my hope is that Meyer can continue to pursue perfection on the gridiron while maintaining a healthy lifestyle that allows him to stick around for a long, long time.
So, with the article recently read (seriously, do it) and the proper level of Buckeye football enthusiasm in your heart, here are some of the things that I am most excited about following reports from the first week of practice. Read More
Yesterday was the official one month mark until the start of college football.
Ohio State may not be eligible for postseason play in 2012, but that has no impact on the anticipation for Buckeye fans.
Urban Meyer is one month away from his debut as Ohio State’s head coach, and that is the main reason OSU fans are excited.
The Buckeyes begin the 2012 season with four non-conference home games—only one of which is against a team from a BCS conference.
While OSU may not have a big-name program on its non-conference schedule like years past, playing four games under coach Meyer before the Big Ten schedule will be extremely important for the team to get comfortable in a new system under a new coaching staff.
Here at The Buckeye Battlecry, we will have in-depth previews of each OSU opponent during the week of the game. This, however, is the first in a three-part series briefly looking at the 2012 season a month out. Read More