There are some things in sports that just don’t make sense. Purdue beating Ohio State in football is one of those things.
But don’t tell the Boilermakers (3-3, 0-2) that. Two of the last three times these teams have met, Purdue has come away with the victory.
Last year’s gut-wrenching 26-23 overtime loss to the Boilermakers sent the Buckeyes into a tailspin to finish the year as it was OSU’s first of four consecutive losses to close out the 2011 campaign.
Ohio State was 6-3 heading into the Purdue game a season ago. But Robert Marve’s 1-yard touchdown run on a quarterback sneak sent OSU into that downward spiral that saw the Buckeyes finish 6-7.
On paper, it seems every year that talent favors Ohio State in this matchup. This seems to be the case again this season. The Buckeyes have NFL talent at multiple positions, while Purdue may only have one or two NFL-caliber players on its roster.
To put it mildly, the Boilermakers are struggling. Back in week two, Purdue lost by only a field goal in South Bend to Notre Dame. Even though they suffered a loss, the Boilermakers gained some confidence from that game. Purdue then went on to win its next two contests against Eastern Michigan and Marshall, respectively.
The Boilermakers were sitting at 3-1 and, with Ohio State and Penn State ineligible, seemed at the time like they could represent the Leaders Division in the B1G Championship Game.
Then the wheels fell off of the Boilermakers’ train.
Purdue was blown out at home by both Michigan (44-13) and Wisconsin (38-14).
The Buckeyes haven’t exactly been putting on a clinic either, especially defensively. But, they have yet to suffer a loss after seven games.
Ohio State seems to have the advantage again. But, one of my favorite cliches in all of sports is “that’s why they play the game.”
Ohio State should have no problem with Purdue this weekend, but you can never be certain in this wacky sports world.
And I feel like I’ve been saying this a lot this year, but there’s one huge difference with this Ohio State team and the ones of previous years.
Following an overtime victory from the Michigan Wolverines, the Buckeyes and Purdue locked horns for the right to face the Maize and Blue. Jared Sullinger lead all scorers with an impressive 30 points, and picked up a double double with 12 rebounds, as the Buckeyes defeated the Purdue Boilermakers 88-71. All of Ohio State’s starters scored in double digits tonight, while DJ Byrd led Purdue with 20 points on 4-10 from three point range. Robbie Hummel scored only 6 points and 10 rebounds in what may be his last Big Ten game.
Ohio State started the game playing their style of basketball. After a rough opening tip, the Bucks took advantage of numbers and attacked the rim giving Jared Sullinger an easy layup. William Buford also found an easy high bucket, setting up Deshaun Thomas later for a wide open trey. They coupled the strong offense with tough defense and excellent rebounding that prevented Purdue from finding a basket until more than three minutes had ellapsed.
As a team, the Buckeyes looked renewed following their two away wins. Where the team had struggled to find their groove early in away games, they found traction in this game early and raced ahead of the surprised Boilermakers. Robbie Hummel’s three pointer ended the drought, but failed to open up the OSU defense in any meaningful way. With Purdue’s offense sputtering, Matt Painter was forced to dig deep into his bench looking for some kind of production from his team.
Thad Matta continued to look to his bench early despite this being the late season when most coaches shorten the bench. Sam Thompson came in for Lenzelle Smith early and quickly established himself on the scoreboard with a nice 15 foot jumper from the left side. He was soon joined on the court by fellow bench-mate Evan Ravenel, who subbed in at the five after Jared Sullinger picked up his first foul.
The Buckeyes and Purdue meet tonight at around 9:00 PM EST on BTN for the second round of the Big Ten Tournament! Purdue, the six seed, defeated 11-seeded Nebraska last night to advance to play the Buckeyes, who enter on a round 1 bye.
While you wait for the game, go check out our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 8:30 PM EST.
One of four days of the tournament are finished. One third of the combatants have been sent home. Now it’s time for the big dogs to get a chance to see the court.
Today’s games mostly went as expected, with Iowa, Indiana, and Purdue staying alive. The lone surprise was Minnesota’s overtime win over tournament dark horse favorite Northwestern. With the Wildcats eliminated early, it’s very likely that their NCAA tournament dreams have died with their Big Ten Tournament run. We’ll have to wait and see before we can be certain, however.
As for tomorrow’s games, there are some intriguing matchups. All four of the games involve teams that played each other only once during the regular season. Even more surprisingly, all of those games were played at the home court of the higher seed in each matchup. That means that each game has a good chance of being much more exciting than the original meetings. This is particularly true for Purdue and Indiana who get to treat there games very nearly like home games.
Just like today, WVaBuckeye and Gary Russell will cover all of the action during the course of the day tomorrow! Make sure you stop by and continue to follow all of the Big Ten Tournament coverage here at the Buckeye Battle Cry!
10:15 PM – Make sure to stop back tomorrow for more live coverage from Indianapolis from WVaBuckeye and Gary Russell! A preview of tomorrow’s games will be up shortly to get you ready for all four excellent matchups.
10:00 PM – Gary Russell here from Indy finishing out today’s action. The second half started off with a flurry but Purdue really flexed its muscles in pulling away and beating Nebraska in the Husker’s first trip to the tourney by a score of 79-61. Today’s action reminded me of what the Big Ten is all about. While Minnesota’s overtime thriller was the best game of the day, the other games still showed us that the Big Ten has tremendous heart, determination, and class. Here’s to a great first day and an awesome second day.
9:00 PM – Gary Russell from Indy and Purdue is leading Nebraska 39-31 at halftime. Upset minded Nebraska kept it close early but they didn’t seem to have an answer for Purdue on the boards. The Boilermakers cashed in on their second chance points going up by 15 at one point. Bo Spencer hits a three and a lay up at the 2:03 mark shrinking the lead to 8. The teams trade baskets to close out the half putting us where we are at halftime.
7:40 PM – Northwestern’s dreams came to an end here in OT. A hot shooting Gopher squad made their free throws and some timely threes to post a 75-68 win. Shurna and Cobb combined for 45 of Northwestern’s points, while Andre Hollins lead Minnesota and all scorers with 25. Minnesota moves on to face TTUN tomorrow in game three of day 2.
Welcome to March.
Are you ready? Ready for tournament time?
The coaches are. Some of the coaches don’t usually care about the Big Ten Tournament – particularly Tom Izzo. The tournament rarely changes anything heading into the NCAA tournament, and the Regular Season Championship is considered more precious. But Tom Izzo seemingly changed his mind this season after being forced to share the regular season title with the Buckeyes and Wolverines,
We’re going to go win our championship back.
He’s ready for March. Are you?
You’d better be. This Big Ten Tournament promises to be one of the best yet. The field is deep with teams that want to win. Consider Northwestern, who has never been to the NCAA’s, and Minnesota, who would like to prove what they can do as a young team missing a key player. How about Purdue, with Robbie Hummel’s last go around. And that’s not even including Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan who would all love to be able to hold the tournament championship over their co-regular season title holders.
Just to name a few.
JoeD, WVaBuckeye, Dave, and I put our heads together and shared some of our thoughts on the Thursday matchups to get you ready for the first day of action.
The newly-formed Buckeye Bloggers Network put their heads together again! This time we will be looking at the impact that each starter and the bench had on the game against Purdue on Tuesday night. The other blogs joining us in this venture are: The Buckeye Blog, Our Honor Defend, Buckeye House Call, OSU Silver Bullet, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray.
Lenzelle Smith has had quite a sophomore campaign for the Buckeyes. It was apparent early in the season that he had not fully realized his role on the team, as he struggled to score and to really gel in the framework of the starters. His recent games in Big Ten play have been a positive indication that he is understanding better what he needs to bring to this team.
What has made Smith a starter from day one has been his defensive intensity. While he is not the best defender on the court – how could he be, he plays next to Aaron Craft – he is certainly one of the better defenders on the team. Guards have typically struggled when playing the Buckeyes, and that has as much to do with Smith’s play as with Craft’s.
Smith has taken his successes on the defensive end and used them to grow on the offensive side. For a long time this season the running joke was that Smith’s over-under in scoring was five points, and that he would play like he was desperate to break it. Rare would be the game that he actually succeeded, it seemed.
And then Indiana happened – twice.
The Purdue Boilermakers, the last team to beat Ohio State in Value City Arena, made an attempt to do it again tonight and very nearly succeed. The Buckeyes escaped the upset bid, winning 87-84 against a surprisingly accurate shooting night from Purdue who hit an excellent 57.9% from beyond the arc. William Buford had a huge night for OSU scoring 29 points and scooping up 7 rebounds to keep the Buckeyes in the game. Jared Sullinger added 18 and 6 while Purdue’s D.J. Byrd put in 24 and 6 for the Boilermakers.
Surprisingly, Matt Painter chose not to start Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith, replacing them with bench players Kelsey Barlow and D.J. Byrd. The mix-up in the starters was due to Purdue’s poor play against Indiana at home. Playing like crap against your biggest rival is not conducive to making your head coach very happy.
Despite a couple early gaffes the Buckeyes jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on the strength of Sullinger inside and a Lenzelle Smith three. The rapid start forced Painter to call a quick timeout, hoping to get some more energy out of his guys. The pause worked as Purdue came out of the timeout with better effort on both ends and quickly tied up the score at 7. It was an impressive turnaround, and showed a flash of the Purdue we’ve grown accustomed to the last few seasons.
Continuing his trend of frequent early rotations, Matta brought Sam Thompson into the game with 14 minutes left in the first half. With the game still close, it was yet another sign that the young freshman has really started to earn his coach’s trust – especially on the defensive end of the court. JD Weatherspoon also got time later in the first half demonstrating his improving presence for this basketball team. Weatherspoon may not be getting regular appearances yet, but he’s getting closer to it.