BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Michigan State II

Written March 4th, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes and Spartans meet up at 4:00 PM EST on CBS today to play for either a share (for the Buckeyes) or an outright claim (for the Spartans) of the Big Ten Regular Season Championship!

While you wait, go checkout 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 3:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks! Let’s win that ol’ conference now!

Buckeyes Evade Wildcats 75-73 in Evanston

Written February 29th, 2012 by Eric

Craft's offense showed up today to help out against a fiesty Northwestern team.

The Northwestern Wildcats played host this evening for a battle with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and gave the Buckeyes everything they could handle and some. Jared Sullinger put down the last second layup off an excellent Aaron Craft pass to win the game. Sullinger finished the game with another double double with 22 points and 18 rebounds, more in line with what he is capable of doing every night. DeShaun Thomas also secured a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Craft scored 14, and Lenzelle Smith put down 12. Drew Crawford of Northwestern led all scorers with 23 points, closely followed by John Shurna’s 22.

Despite discussions about the possibility of starting lineup changes to try to kick-start the Buckeyes better, Ohio State came out with their standard opening five. Matta clearly trusts his guys to get the job done, so we will just have to see if these guys can make the changes necessary to play elite basketball again. While we saw some steps in the right direction tonight, they have yet to demonstrate that they can close out a game – especially after grabbing a big lead.

Surprisingly, the Buckeyes came out strong in this one. Lenzelle Smith started things off on the right foot with a pair of baskets to go along with a trip to the charity stripe. Jared Sullinger also managed an early trip to the line, indicated that the Buckeyes were attacking the basket early. In so doing, they managed to open up a couple of long jumpers for Craft, who drained a three and an 18 footer from the left wing.

Northwestern wasn’t going to take it lying down. The Cats used a nice Drew Crawford dribble drive early to get the Buckeyes focused on defending the lane. Crawford was then able to use the collapsing defense to find open shooters on the outside. The strategy enabled Northwestern to hit three of their first six treys, and kept the game closer than it otherwise would have been with the Buckeyes playing such motivated basketball.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Northwestern Part II

Written February 29th, 2012 by Eric

It’s time to wake up and pay attention. March is just around the corner, and the Buckeyes have two regular season games left. Tonight’s matchup? The Bucks take on the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, IL.

While you wait, go checkout 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 8:00 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Pregame Glance: Northwestern Part II

Written February 28th, 2012 by Eric

Bill Carmody's default look on Selection Sunday.

The Northwestern Wildcats are playing host to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday evening for the second to last game of the regular season. Bill Carmody’s team is standing at 17-11 for the season, and 7-9 in the Big Ten – good for 7th overall in conference. Over their last six meetings the Buckeyes lead 5-1, including an overtime battle in the Big Ten tournament last year. The last Northwestern victory occurred in Evanston on February 18th, 2009 by a score of 72-69.

Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament in the history of their program. During the 2009-2010 campaign, the Wildcats put together a 20 win season that should have been enough to earn them their first bid. Surprisingly, they were denied entry and relegated to the NIT for the second year running. They again missed the tournament last season with a slightly less impressive 18 win season, but they were at least in the conversation.

The Wildcats find themselves in the conversation again this year. Sitting at 17 wins with two games left on the schedule, there is an outside chance that the ‘Cats could play their way into the tournament. Not surprisingly, many in the Big Ten find themselves rooting for Northwestern to make it into the field of 68 – though, of course, not at the expense of their own teams.

A lot of their recent success, and the reason that they’re consistently making post-season play, has to do with how Bill Carmody has them playing in Evanston. The Wildcats have been an incredibly difficult team to beat at home during the last few seasons, making Welsh-Ryan Arena a surprising intimidating building. You may recall last season when the Buckeyes, in their only meeting with Northwestern, escaped with a 58-57 victory after Northwestern missed a desperation half-court heave at the buzzer. That trend has continued into this season as a number of teams will attest.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Wisconsin Part II

Written February 26th, 2012 by Eric

It’s Senior Night in Columbus!  The Bucks are facing the Wisconsin Badgers in what will be William Buford’s last home game of his college career! The game tips at 4:00 PM EST on CBS.  Hopefully we get Clark Kellogg…

Keep your eyes open on this game – the #Hop2TheRafters shirts should make a reappearance.  The University may have responded, but that doesn’t mean the campaign is over!  It’s not over until Hop (and, now, all of the legendary Buckeye Shooty Hoopers) get recognized!

While you wait, go checkout 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 3:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Pregame Glance: Wisconsin II

Written February 25th, 2012 by Eric

Bo Ryan can't resist watching the train-wreck the end of this season has become.

The Badgers are visiting Columbus tomorrow for the Buckeye’s last home game of the season and are looking for a measure of revenge. The Badgers lost to the Buckeyes on February 4th in the Kohl Center 58-52, and would like nothing more than to pay the Buckeyes back. With Ohio State’s recent struggles, both at home and on the road, the Badgers likely feel good about their chances to pull the upset – but they have to escape their own history first.

The Badgers started out their Big Ten season in ugly fashion. After a win over Nebraska, Bucky discovered themselves on a three game losing skid starting with a bad loss at home to a mid-level Iowa team. But the ship righted itself, allowing the Badgers to win six straight games heading into the beginning of February and the first matchup with the Buckeyes.

After the Bucks escaped the Kohl Center with their first win since 2000, Wisconsin has only been able to break even. The Badgers first visited rival Minnesota and walked away with a tough 68-61 overtime victory. Unfortunately, they had to follow that difficult game with a battle against Michigan State in East Lansing – a battle that saw the Spartans defeat the Badgers by 14.

Since that game in East Lansing the Badgers have split games against Penn State (65-55 W), and at Iowa (67-66 L), leaving Wisconsin at 9-6 overall in the Big Ten. Amazingly, a 9-6 record at this point in the season is good enough for fourth place in the conference. That puts the Badgers two games back behind Michigan and Ohio State (who are tied for second), and a game ahead of fifth place Indiana at 8-7.
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Ohio State Defeats Illinois 83-67

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

The student section was rocking the #Hop2theRafters t-shirts.

Coming off their fifth loss of the season, the Buckeyes looked to bounce back at home against the struggling Fighting Illini. Unfortunately for Illinois, they simply did not have the horses to keep up with the intense Ohio State attack, and fell 83-67 in Columbus. Meyers Leonard of Illinois led all scorers with 21 points, while Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 19. William Buford and Aaron Craft rounded out the OSU double digit scorers with 17 and 11 respectively – a solid game from the Buckeye’s leaders.

The Buckeye Nuthouse was proudly sporting shirts that read “Retire #32″ tonight. The shirts were in honor of Dennis Hopson and his excellent career for the Scarlet and Gray in the mid-80′s. To see the students supporting OSU history so enthusiastically was amazing, and I’m proud of the passion that they have shown for Hopson.

The Buckeyes came out of the gate very determined to earn the win tonight. The team played with amazing energy and intensity from the outset. Their passes were sharp and crisp, and placed where only the intended recipient could recieve it. Even better, the Buckeyes were finding open shooters and making great shot selection. The best was William Buford’s shot fake from above the charity stripe that turned into a pass to an open Aaron Craft for three, putting Illinois down by double digits and forcing Bruce Weber into an early timeout.

Thad Matta mixed up the bench rotations in a big way. Instead of having Shannon Scott come in solely for Aaron Craft as we have seen all season long, Scott came in and played the two for Lenzelle Smith. That allowed the Buckeyes to have a pair of good ball control point guards in the game. We also saw Sam Thompson come into the game for Buford early and get quality playing time, including an amazing one handed tomahawk ally-oop from the aforementioned Scott.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Illinois Part 2

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

Happy Mardi Gras! The Bucks are back in Columbus for their rematch with the Fighting Illini! The game tips at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN.

Keep your eyes open on this game. Our own WVaBuckeye put together a set of shirts for the Nuthouse to help promote the #Hop2TheRafters cause

While you wait, go checkout 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 6:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!