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.
Participating in the ACC/B1G Challenge, the Buckeyes traveled for their first ever game at Cameron Indoor Stadium against the Duke Blue Devils. The result was the ultimate game of runs as Duke put together a long come-back in the second half to pick up the 73-68 win. DeShaun Thomas finished with only 16 points, his lowest scoring output of the season so far. He was joined in double digits by Lenzelle Smith and Aaron Craft with 11 a piece. Duke’s Mason Plumlee lead all scorers with 20 points and a ludicrous 17 rebounds, and was joined in the double digit club by Rasheed Sulaimon with 17, and Ryan Kelly with 15.
The Buckeyes dominated the first half, finishing with a 31-23 lead to go into intermission. That was made primarily possible by the total lack of scoring from Duke, caused at least in part by the excellent Buckeye defense in their half-court man-to-man set. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes couldn’t connect on a number of open looks, and their shooting percentages were unfortunately low despite a rather poor defensive effort from the Blue Devils throughout the early going.
Everything changed in the second half. Mike Krzyzewski must have gotten into the Blue Devil’s ears in the half as they came out highly motivated on both ends of the court. It took some time, but they slowly chipped away at the Buckeye lead until they eventually claimed it with only 5 minutes left in the game. Duke’s rebounding on the defensive end improved, but most importantly they began to hit their outside looks when it mattered most.
Regardless of the outcome, this is a positive result for the Buckeyes. There’s no such thing as a moral victory, but there definitely are positives you can take away from a loss. The Bucks learned a number of things they have to start doing better. However, they also learned that they’re in a very good position already this season. Duke is a fantastic basketball team this year, and both teams put together a great game for us tonight.
The B1G went 4-2 in the B1G/ACC Challenge last night, and the B1G needs only to go 3-3 tonight for a win. Hopefully one of those wins comes for the Buckeyes as they take on the Duke Blue Devils
Joining us as usual – and special thanks to all of them for making these such a great success – are the other members of the Buckeye Blogger Network. Make sure to stop by their place and say, “hey”: Buckeye Ninja, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Buckeye Empire, Silver Bullet, The Buckeye Blog, Unscripted Ohio, and Fox Sports Ohio.
The Liveblog will tip around 9:00 PM EST, with the Basketball game starting at 9:30PM on ESPN.
That favorite time of the year has returned, the annual duel known as the B1G/ACC challenge is upon us! As one of the top teams from last year’s Big Ten season, the Buckeyes redrew the Duke Blue Devils for their matchup. This time, though, the game will be played in the cozy*, friendly*, confines of Cameron Indoor. The rematch is on!
|Location:||Durham, North Carolina|
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Conference:||Atlantic Coast Conference|
|Stadium:||Cameron Indoor Stadium|
|Head Coach:||Mike Krzyzewski|
*Your actual experience as an opposing team may vary. Drastically.
Ah, fall… the wind turns brisk and in Los Angeles the birds turn colors and fall from the trees (ht: David Letterman). We talked last week about “pumpkinitis” that’s sweeping the country… some people are taking it seriously. Instead of subjecting yourself to such a task, take time to kick back with some new tunes and enjoy a great weekend in college sports.
In case you haven’t noticed (and if you haven’t, please PLEASE let me know how you’re managing to pull that off), it’s election season. And you thought the BCS was complicated and overwrought… three more weeks, people. You can do it.
“But Mali- there’s never been politics on tBBC… what gives?”
That’s a fine point, but it’s the only way I could think of to lead into this week’s “marquee” matchup. Given how much they like football, I’m sure that there was some tension on the Romney/Ryan campaign bus when Notre Dame and BYU squared off in South Bend. (See, ’cause one candidate is a Mormon and the other is a Catholic… oh, nevermind.) Yup, The Golden Domers met the People of the Golden Plates, with the former looking to continue their undefeated season. The Cougars managed to do something that was pretty rare this season, and scored an offensive touchdown against a resurgent Irish defense, led by Heisman (?) candidate linebacker Manti Te’o. It wasn’t enough, though, as they fell to .500 in a 17-14 loss to Brian Kelly’s team, who was led by backup quarterback Tommy Rees’ and his one completed pass after halftime. So, yeah- that Notre Dame fan in your office has yet another week to be a bit boisterous regarding his fifth ranked favorite squadron.
In order to make sure I cover both sides of the 2012 election, here. Ok, I’m done talking religion and politics… you can come back now.
On the topic of mistakes that I’ve made recently, I’m more than willing to acknowledge that my purchasing the hype regarding West Virginia was misguided. They still seem to be a Big lEast team of sorts, where defense is even more optional than it has been in the B12 lately. This isn’t to take anything away from the October Heisman frontrunner; Colin Klein has rightfully taken the crown from Mr. September, particularly in their “head to head” contest on Saturday. The Wildcats now sit at 7-0 , and even managed to jump Oregon in the BCS rankings this week, all the way up to #3. While I won’t argue with the BCS… At least Oregon beat a team this week that had a defensive pulse. We’ve not seen that from West Virginia, so it’s hard to assess Kansas State’s victory fully. Hooray subjectivity!
Although this is traditionally a “Saturday” wrap up, the truth of the matter is that Thursday’s game between the Ducks and Arizona State was pretty freaking impressive. After an initial ASU score, Oregon cranked up it’s offensive game and scored 43 points before there was even ten minutes left in the second quarter. Mercifully, they pulled back the horses at that point- although, they certainly could have kept rolling if they chose to… when a team scores on a two point conversion this easily, you’ve got to know that they are only stopping themselves for the rest of the game. If you didn’t know any better, you’d think that Chip Kelly was pissed that his team was only ranked third in last week’s BCS- since they actually fell one slot this week, I’m afraid to see what happens to this week’s
victim opponent. Read More
If you’re reading this, you’ve survived Bloody Tuesday… don’t you just hate corporate bonding retreats? Here’s some happy music to get you through the day.
As we get closer and closer to kickoff, we’ll be looking across the nation at other (read “inferior”) conferences. This way, you’ll have just enough information to argue with that guy in accounting. Today we take a look at the Atlantic Coast Conference- nope, FSU and Clemson haven’t left yet.
Where does the conference fall in the national rankings. How likely are they to have a team in the Title game?
It’s not that the ACC hasn’t been able to compete on a national stage over the years or the fact that they don’t get ranked teams. They haven’t been able to finish at the end of the season. The only BCS National Champion they’ve produced is Florida State in 2000 as they beat a then Big East Virginia Tech. As a conference, the ACC is 2-13 overall in BCS bowls they have participated in and 1-2 in the Title game. They double dipped in the BCS last year and everyone knows how both of those turned out.
Who’s the best team in the conference? Who will play for in the conference title game (if there is one)?
Clemson has the best talent in the conference with several players returning on the defense that didn’t show up for their bowl game against WVU last season- They are a team on a mission and the offensive firepower to do it. The conference race will take care of itself more or less as FSU plays at VTU late in the season, Clemson will play at FSU, and VTU has to go to Death Valley. It could boil down to the home team winning out and there not being a clear-cut champion and either Clemson or FSU will play VTU in the ACC Championship game.
I am of the belief that Clemson will hold pat on the road at FSU and finish the season undefeated and take on the Hokies. This isn’t a surprise as Virginia Tech has played in five of the seven conference title games winning three of them and losing last years’ to Clemson.
Who are the worst teams in the conference? Read More