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.
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.
Ohio State has returned to the friendly confines of Columbus to play the Purdue Boilermakers this evening! ESPN is airing the game today, which is set to tip at 9:00 PM EST in Value City Arena.
While you wait, go checkout our Buckeye Blogger Network friends! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Fox Sports Ohio. They will all be joining us at 8:30 PM for the start of our liveblog.
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.
The Buckeyes are on to the next game of their “Murderer’s Row Tour” of the Big Ten! The next stop is Columbus, Ohio to face the Purdue Boilermakers. Let’s take a look.
|Location:||West Lafayette, Indiana|
|Head Coach:||Matt Painter|
The BBC decided to bring in the big guns for this preview, and for good reason…no one knows the Boilers better than me.
34 teams in this year’s preseason ESPN/USA Today coaches poll were rated higher than the Purdue Boilermakers. Let me be the first to caution those who voted in the poll: you just poured gasoline onto a burning inferno. Not smart. Anyway, just like in years past, Purdue struggled come postseason and tourney time this past season in college basketball; managing just one win in the NCAA Tournament and an early, embarrassing exit at the hands of Michigan State in the Big Ten Tournament. (The 18 point loss to VCU in the Round of 32 of the Tourney doesn’t seem so bad now).
All joking aside, it was still a solid year for Purdue, finishing 26-8 and second in the Big Ten was a far cry from where most preseason prognosticators had them once the news of forward Robbie Hummel’s second ACL tear was announced on Saturday, October 16. As you can imagine, I remember where I was, how stunned I looked when I panned down at my cell phone while standing on the sidelines of the Minnesota-Purdue football game and reading ‘Robbie Hummel out for the year with 2nd ACL tear.’ Immediately, Purdue was dropped out of the Top 25 by most writers, picked to finish in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten. Why do the voters feel the need to do this again, this time with Hummel returning to the team? I can tell you immediately: this team will compete for a Big Ten title, even without 2 of the best to ever play in West Lafayette.
As Ty discussed in his article this past week, some coaches may be pulling out their CVs and making some edits and updates in hopes of landing a job at Ohio State next year. It will be interesting to see how the season and subsequent coaching decision plays out for the football program, and hopefully Luke Fickell lands himself the frontrunner position with a solid 2011-12 campaign at the helm. Nevertheless, with the present uncertainty surrounding the football team, it is nice to have stability in the Buckeye basketball world.
The perception is that Thad Matta has a very well-run program. After taking over following Jim O’Brien’s departure, Matta has grown the program to new heights, achieving year-after-year success that has fans enthused and engaged in basketball once again. O’Brien, who recently was named head coach at DIII school Emerson after being out of coaching for a period of time, left Ohio State amidst rules violations that resulted in significant penalties for the university. Fortunately Matta has avoided anything of that nature thus far, and although nobody expected the sudden fallout that has occurred with Jim Tressel given his image and reputation, comments by Jared Sullinger in a featured ESPN article on Thursday provide reason to believe that there is little cause to worry about a similar surprise with Matta. Read More
#1 Ohio State and #12 Purdue locked horns in Columbus this evening for early control of the Big Ten conference. After Purdue neglected to take the floor, the Buckeyes cruised to a lopsided 87-64 win. Purdue simply had no answer for the Buckeyes on either side of the court, with only Johnson and Moore finding any sort of scoring success against the tough Buckeye defense. Six Buckeyes broke double figures, including William Buford’s team leading 19. With the win, the Buckeyes advance to 21-0, which is one shy of tying* their second best start in program history, sharing with the 1960-’61 National Runner-up team.
I would like to take a moment to yell at ESPN. We know full well that you’re the new name of SEC sports, and you have vested interest when the Florida/Georgia game goes into double overtime. However, the Big Ten market doesn’t particularly care about your mid-level SEC basketball game, especially once Florida secures a 12 point lead with not enough time left on the clock for a UGA comeback. I almost wish this game had been on the Big Ten Network.
Buford came out of the gate with the hot hand, sinking two quick three pointers to open the game for the Bucks. Purdue’s strategy, to double team Sully by sloughing a defender off Buford, gave Will the wide open looks he needed to rain in the big opening shots. While the strategy seemed to take Sullinger out of the game, it was the same “pick your poison” option as the OSU shooters took advantage of it.
Purdue had absolutely no answer for the Buckeyes in the early going. On both ends of the court, Ohio State had their number on the way to an early 26-9 lead that left the Boiler’s completely stunned. It seemed as if whatever Purdue wanted to do, OSU had the immediate answer. Worse yet, JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore had combined for 2-7 shooting for a total of 5 points 10 minutes into the game. Exactly what Purdue didn’t want to happen to start the game.