The Buckeyes return to Columbus for their first home conference tilt! The Nebraska Cornhuskers are in town for the second straight battle of ranked teams for the Bucks this year!
Looking forward to seeing you there! Go Bucks!
Last year Nebraska joined the B1G and Ohio State traveled to Lincoln for an exciting game. Last year also introduced us to Tad Stryker, Dan “Husker Dan” McGlynn, and Husker Max.com. They joined us last year for our questions and they graciously decided to put up with us again this year and answer our questions about this year’s game.
1) Watching Nebraska defeat Wisconsin (woot!!) on Saturday, we couldn’t help but have deja vu with the second half comeback. Do you attribute that to great half-time adjustments, players executing the game plan better in the third and fourth quarters, home crowd momentum, or Bert Bielema just being awful? We’ll totally accept a combination of the two.
Tad Stryker: Yeah, that comeback did bring back a memory or two, didn’t it? The home crowd was a big factor, but the players settled down and stopped making critical mistakes. As far as coaching goes, putting Ciante Evans on Abbrederis for the second half was one of the best adjustments the Huskers made all evening. Second-year offensive coordinator Tim Beck stuck with the running game despite being down 17 points, unlike last year in Madison.
Husker Dan: The main cause of the Huskers’ second half resurgence was that they got out of their own way. There were also half-time adjustments to the offensive and defensive line schemes. Better execution, half time adjustments and the fact that Russell Wilson is playing for the Seahawks helped to contribute to the Husker win! Bret Bielema is a good coach, but clearly doesn’t have the talent he’s had the past few years.
2) Taylor Martinez has improved his passing significantly this year, both statistically and in his decision making. However, there seem to be several moments of regression (UCLA game, 1st half against Wisconsin)… what are the coaches doing to help him put together a complete game?
HD: This is a great question. I’m not sure the coaches can do much, other than stay out of his way. Taylor Martinez is light years from where he was a year ago. He played most of 2011 with two bad wheels that limited his ability to throw and run. This year, he’s become much more of a leader. He is definitely in charge of the offense. We’ve seen flashes of brilliance this fall. When he reaches his full potential, look out. He has the potential to be one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
TS: Martinez has improved a lot, but I still don’t think he can beat a high-level opponent with his arm alone. I think the coaches just need to keep reinforcing his confidence and let him run the ball with abandon (no more hook slides). When the Husker run game improves, Martinez improves as a passer, and so on.
3) At the game in the Rose Bowl, the Blackshirts seemed to be out of position in a number of occasions. What adjustments have Nebraska’s defensive personnel and coaches made since UCLA? Read More
Contain.Keep Taylor Martinez in the pocket and force him to beat them downfield with his arm. He’s much more dangerous with his feet.
Defensive line dominance. Continue moving the line of scrimmage one to two yards into the backfield. Keep the gaps plugged and force Burkhead to bounce his runs outside.
Be smart. No silly turnovers and penalties from the offense. Nebraska is going to give them a lot of different looks, some they haven’t seen this year. Keep your head in the game.
Carpe Diem. While being smart, enjoy the moment and seize the opportunity! “Who’s going to make a big play first? Me!” should be the thought on everyone’s mind. It’s national television in prime time, this is why you came to Ohio State.
Feed Carlos. Carlos Hyde had a pretty decent game vs Nebraska last year. He took the team, with the offensive line, on his shoulders in the closing minutes in East Lansing and won the game by the running the ball right into the teeth of the Spartan defense and keeping the clock moving. Now feed him! Let’s see a good dose of Carlos Hyde bashing into the Nebraska front seven!
Shut down the run, again. We did it last week with great success, but it may be more difficult this time around since Nebraska has more than one weapon on the ground.
Force Martinez into bad decisions. Nebraska’s QB has improved his throwing since last season, but he is still inconsistent at best. If the Buckeyes can get pressure on him and force him to make some mistakes that will severely limit the Husker offense.
Attack the middle of the defense. I don’t know if it is because the coaches don’t trust Miller to make the reads, but I have felt for weeks that the middle of the opposing defense has been extremely vulnerable and we haven’t taken advantage of that. Teams are focusing on stopping the run and the quick passes into the flats, leaving the middle of the field relatively open. I’d like to see the offense attempt to exploit that weakness a bit more this week.
Less read option runs from Miller. He’s still not very good at making those reads and it showed in the first half against the Spartans. Granted, that D was damn good which didn’t help, but I’d like to see us ease off those plays (just like we did in the second half against MSU) until Miller proves he can execute them consistently.
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 Buckeyes are on the road again, this time playing the surging Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. The game is scheduled for 8pm EST, and can be seen on the Big Ten Network.
Our Buckeye Blogger friends will be joining us at 7:30 pm. In the meantime, go check out their places! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Scarlet and Game, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Fox Sports Ohio.
If you’re looking for web-video for the game, try First Row Sports (warning: pop-up ads). Click the basketball tab, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right game. I’ve heard people having issues with this website recently – if that’s still the case, let me know and we’ll hunt around for another source.
Ohio State and Nebraska are set to face off again, this time in Lincoln, Nebraska. You may recall the first game was a 71-40 victory for the Buckeyesin Columbus. After taking a 4-2 lead on OSU, the Cornhuskers fell behind and were quickly dismantled by the Bucks. By time the smoke cleared, OSU had been running their deep bench for nearly half of the second stanza – the only reason Nebraska was able to keep the game as close as it finally ended.
But, for those of us who have been watching these Buckeyes play regularly this season, we know that this team performs much differently on the road than they do at home. That seems to be true for most Big Ten teams this year, but has been a striking change for the Bucks. It’s particularly worrisome considering the way Nebraska has handled business during the last few weeks since the Bucks met them.
Doc Sadler’s team is clearly starting to figure out the way the Big Ten conference plays basketball. After a rough stretch that saw them play four of the best teams in conference, and losing to all of them, the Huskers have gone 2-1 in conference with one impressive victory, and two tough, physical losses. It’s a much different tune after losing three straight games by 68 total points, to suddenly having a positive margin of victory in their last four games.
You may recall that the Cornhuskers put up a tough fight at home against the Michigan State Spartans before traveling to Columbus. That first game against Izzo’s team was the first sign of life from the team from Lincoln, and with a little bit of time they have started to put together a dangerous basketball team. Days after having to play in Columbus, the Cornhuskers found themselves in Urbana-Champaign for a battle with the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Illini, having functionally lost DJ Richardson for the game (he played 21 minutes, but scored only 2 points) due to injury, were unable to put away the Huskers until the final moments of the game. Illinois picked up the 59-24 victory days before welcoming the Buckeyes in for a loss by the same spread.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers visited Value City Arena tonight for their first meeting with the Buckeyes as members of the Big Ten. Nebraska was not able to challenge the Buckeyes very well at all, falling 71-40 in a very lopsided battle. Jared Sullinger picked up yet another double double in this game with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Deshaun Thomas and William Buford also broke double figures with 15 and 13 points respectively.
Ohio State’s defense gave Nebraska fits early. The very first possession of the game resulted in a shot clock violation for the clearly out-matched Cornhuskers. As is typical with this team, when the defense is clicking the offense follows. The Bucks found plenty of good shots on the offensive end in the early going, with even Lenzelle Smith getting into the action with a nice early three-pointer.
The OSU offense operated in its traditional fashion. They fed the ball into the paint, preferably to Sullinger, and looked for the available shot. In the beginning of the game, Sullinger was regularly sending the ball back outside in the face of a Husker double team. The Indiana game was a severe deviation from this mode of attack, as the Bucks spent a lot more time shooting from outside rather than attacking the paint. That change had to do with the foul situation OSU’s big-men found themselves in against the Hoosiers, and it was good to see the Buckeyes go back to their bread and butter.