The The #24 Ohio State Buckeyes (21-6. 8-6) host the Minnesota Golden Gophers (17-10, 6-8) this Saturday evening. The Buckeyes are out to avenge a 63-53 loss to the Gophers on January 19th. More importantly, the Buckeyes are in the midst of a five game stretch prior to the regular season finale against Michigan State. Currently, the Buckeyes sit in 5th place in the conference, one game behind Wisconsin. Ohio State wants to overtake them to get into the top four to earn a 1st round bye in the B1G Tourney.
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The Buckeyes tried to get off their two-game losing streak by taking a trip to The Barn Thursday night. Not an easy task.
In a back-and-forth contest, the Buckeyes ended up on the short side 63-53; their 3rd consecutive defeat and 2nd by double digits. To be honest, this team looks lost and without identity and is not playing with confidence right now. The issues that plagued them against Iowa were still present; no defensive answer for opponent inside play (Eliason had a double-double) and poor shooting (35% FG, 61% FT). Coming down the stretch in the 2nd half, players were passing up shots. Game narrative is below, read at your peril.
On to game action; OSU got off to a less than solid but good enough start, and at the under-16 held a 7-4 lead, highlighted by a 3-pointer by LaQuinton Ross. At the 15 minute mark, Minny had 5 turnovers and OSU was playing much more aggressive interior defense, a welcome sight from the previous game. They were only 3-12 from the filed, so it wasn’t all rosy. Of course, Minnesota took a cue from Iowa and played a good bit of zone defense to force OSU to beat them with actual shooting.
Moving to the under-12, OSU held a 9-6 lead, and Minnesota was “winning” the turnover battle 8-0. As poorly as OSu was shooting 21% (3-14), it helped that Minny had that many turnovers. However, the Gophers picked up the intensity at that point with man-to-man full court pressure which resulted in 2 quick Minny baskets to give them the lead 10-9.
It’s been an interesting start to the off-season to say the least. In Minny, athletic officials have found what they hope to be their diamond in the rough. The Pitino name will ring loud through the B1G in the upcoming seasons. The question is will he be audible to potential recruits when selling the program he adopted. It seems that Minnesota officials have somewhat landed on their feet, despite going into the coaching search without a true developed game plan.
Meanwhile, Northwestern had it’s ducks in a row before they told Bill Carmody his Princeton offense wasn’t welcome back to Chicagoland. Whether you like it or hate it, Chris Collins has been the plan of the future for quite some time.
And for incoming Rutgers, any future of success entering the B1G got ugly in a hurry. Now that they have wiped their slate clean, hopes of success — instead of embarrassment are a true possibility. The university now looks for it’s Scarlet Knight in shining armor to save the day.
Today’s inaugural notebook opens up with the latest in coaching changes in the Big Ten Conference.
Andy Coppens and I are at it again folks. Throwing rocks at the Minnesota athletic department, and raving about Tom Crean’s horrible hairdo…. or execution… one of the two.
If I was on my A game, we would of touched on both.
Thanks to Andy for having me on again, make sure you check out all of his hard work at The B1G Time. He is putting in the hours, and his work is as solid as the conference he covers.
On this week’s show, we preview the final four. Will Michigan have what it takes to get to the title game? We also look back at the Elite 8 losses Ohio State and Indiana suffered from the weekend. We also break down the latest transfer news from Illinois, break down Chris Collins’ hiring at Northwestern, and take a look at who are possible remaining candidates for the open Minnesota job.
As always, thanks for listening! And now you can find The B1g Time Podcast on Itunes!
It’s hard to believe that such a competitive season has culminated to this. One tournament, the week before the big dance. For the first time in it’s history, the B1G Tourney has sold out before play even starts. We have seen some great opening round games the last few years, that have set up teams to a championship game run. Today, we don’t expect much different. We have a slate full of competitive games with huge implications on the line. Here is a look at today’s opening round games with a short preview of what to expect on the hardwood in Chicago in the opening round.
#8 Illinois vs. #9 Minnesota
This will be a hard game to figure out; both teams come in with similar records and both play schizophrenic (due respect to those diagnosed) basketball. Illinois comes into this game losers of 3 of their last 4 games. Further, they have failed to cover the spread in their last five games, meaning they won by fewer than expected and lost by more than expected. Not exactly the performance of a team peaking for post-season. These teams split the season series, so this game is the tie breaker with the opportunity to play #1 seed Indiana in next round.
Illinois is led in the backcourt by Brandon Paul (G, 6’4”, 15.7 ppg, 2.8 apg) and in the frontcourt by Nnanna Egwu (F/C, 6’11”, 6.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg). Minnesota is led in the backcourt by Andre Hollins (G, 6’1”, , 3.5 apg) and in the frontcourt by Trevor Mbakwe (F, 6’8”, 10.0 ppg, 8.7 rpg). Both teams shoot about the same, but Minnesota is a far superior rebounding team (Off Reb % of 44.3), although they are far more prone to turn the ball over (21% of possessions). Best bet for a good game is for Paul to light it up from long range paint while Mbakwe has his way in the paint. Minnesota is favored by 2, sounds about right.
Tip-off is at 12 Noon EST on BTN.
In a lengthy regular season that results in a conference tournament followed by a national championship tournament, it’s hard to call a game on a Wednesday night against Minnesota a “must win” game. But that’s exactly what tonight’s battle at the Schottenstein Center with the Minnesota Golden Gophers was for our Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team. Coming off a horrible loss on Sunday at Wisconsin and with Michigan State looming this Sunday, the Buckeyes needed the Gophers to right the ship and did just that in a convincing 71-45 win.
With the win the Buckeyes improve to 19-7 on the year, 9-5 in the Big Ten.
Aaron Craft’s buzzer beating three ended what was a first half of missed opportunities for Ohio State. The Buckeye defense regained its lost mojo and forced Minnesota into 12 first half turnovers but could only convert the miscues into ten points. The Bucks lead 29-23 at the half, but you had the feeling they could have blown the game wide open at several different spots.
The second half turned out to be a different story. The Buckeyes continued to clamp down on defense, meanwhile shots began to fall and easy transition buckets found them up 41-31 at the 12:00 mark and they never looked back.
Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 19. He was followed for Ohio State by Shannon Scott with 11 and Laquinton Ross with 10. Minnesota was led by Andre Hollins with 11 and Oto Osnieks with 10.
The Buckeyes have now won 6 straight over the Golden Gophers. Tonight’s 26 point win is the largest in the series with Minnesota since the Buckeyes abused the Gophers 94-63 on March 4th 1992. Read More
School: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Location: Minneapolis, MN and St. Paul, MN
Student Population: 51,853 total, 30,375 undergrad
School Type: Public
Stadium: Williams Arena, AKA ‘The Barn’
Head Coach: Orlando ‘Tubby’ Smith
Experience: 6th year
With basketball season rapidly approaching and a lot of information to digest from around the conference, I thought it was high time we hear from bloggers representing them. We finish off the series in roundtables with our last seven today! We hope you enjoy the feature and give us plenty of feedback, and be sure to check out Part One.
Introducing our comrades from around the B1G we start off with Rick Reese of the Iowa Blog Black Heart Gold Pants; Brian Rosenthal, Lincoln Journal Star writer and Husker Extra writer; Penn State writer for StateCollege.com Ben Jones; Philip Rossman-Reich writer for Lake the Posts ; Jonathan Foster, writer for From the Barn, one of my favorite B1G blogs.
I honestly had issues trying to round up bloggers for TTUN and for the Fighting Illini, and have the only Michigan fan I like helping out in Giuliano, (So Fla Wolverine to his twitter mates). tBBC main man for basketball Eric will do us the honor of covering the Illini.
Rick Reese. Black Heart Gold Pants. Iowa Roy Devyn Marble, Aaron White and Zach McCabe are Iowa’s returning starters. There’s also Gabe Olaseni and Melsahn Basabe coming off the bench. Marble holds a slight edge over Aaron White as the teams top returning scorer. Marble averaged 11.5 points per game last season while White averaged 11.1. White was a do-it-all freshman that as freshmen do, only got better as the season carried on. McCabe and Basabe averaged 7.8 and 8.2 rebounds per game. Basabe suffered the dreaded sophomore slump but will hopefully benefit this season with the return of a true center in Iowa’s lineup.