This recap is going to be Hobbesian: nasty brutish and short. The Buckeyes traveled to the cornfields of Nebraska to right a wallowing ship, having lost three straight games to drop to 15-3. They are now 15-4, 2-4 after losing to Nebraska in basketball, 68-62. Yes, you read that right. This had some similarities to the MSU game in that Ohio State dug a deep hole in the 1st half, mounted a frenetic comeback, then ran out of gas coming down the stretch. To me, this team is in a bit of a funk right now. They just aren’t playing “right” you name a facet of the game, and that facet needs improvement. Right now, this is not that good of a ball team. Opponents no longer fear playing us.
The game progressed for the 1st half being “horrific” to the 2nd half being “I can’t believe we can’t play better than this”. It was one of those nights. The Bucks made a bit of a run in the last 25-30 seconds or so, but the results were just cosmetic. For the evening, Ohio State shot 39% from the field and 29% from 3-pt range. They continued their atrocious free throw shooting by hitting 14-21, 67%. In contrast, Nebraska shot 50% from the field, 15% from 3-pt range and 77% from the foul line. The Buckeyes were outrebounded 33-27.
The Buckeyes were led by LaQuinton Ross (11 pts, 4 rebs) , Aaron Craft (12 pts, 7 rebs) and Lenzelle Smith Jr (10, 4). Sam Thompson came off the bench to contribute 9 pts and 4 rebs. The Huskers were led by Shavon Shields (18 pts, 9 rebs) and Terran Petteway (17 pts. 5 rebs).
Tonight’s game started out much the same as the game in Columbus, with Nebraska holding a slight lead at the midpoint of the 1st half. Except something went wrong; they kept expanding the lead to go into the locker room up 34-25. Were it not for 2 last second free-throws by LaQuinton Ross, it could have been double digits. The shooting woes continued for the Bucks as they finished the half shooting 31% (8-26) while the Huskers shot 56% (15-17). Quite a difference.
Thad’s halftime speech had some impact as OSU came out of the gates and outscored Nebraska 9-2 in the first three minutes to pull within 2, 34-36. An Aaron Craft layup at the 15:31 mark tied the game at 36. As the teams hit the mid-point of the 2nd half, Ohio State incredibly held a 1 point lead, 44-43, outscoring Nebraska 19-9 at that point in the half.
Over the next five minutes of play, both teams flatlined a bit on offense, with OSU hanging on to a 46-45 lead. OSU’s last FG was at the 5:56 mark. Points were still tough to come by for the Buckeyes as, at the 2-minute mark, the Huskers held a 51-49 lead. By the time we got to the 1:00 mark, the teams were locked in a free-throw contest, which rarely turns out well for Ohio State and Nebraska had a comfortable, “game-over” lead of 61-51.
Next game is Thursday with Illinois in Columbus, with tip-off scheduled for 7:00 PM EST tip-off. Television coverage will be on ESPN, check local listings; LiveChat will be provided here. Please stop in approximately 30 minutes before game time.
[Before I get started on the preview, I want to mention that this article is a bit of a milestone for me. It was nearly one year ago (January 1st, 2013) when my first "official" article appeared as part of tBBC Staff. The article was a preview of a men's basketball game between Ohio State and Nebraska. It's been a great year, thank you all for stopping by our corner of the Buckeye-verse and I can't believe the Editors are still letting me do this..]
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0) opened Big Ten Conference play on Tuesday with a win at Purdue. The return home for a Saturday tip-off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-5, 0-1).
Here’s Nebraska’s Profile
School: University of Nebraska – Lincoln
Location: Lincoln, NE
Student Population: 19,345
School Type: Public – Land Grant
Stadium: Bob Devaney Sports Center
Head Coach: Tim Miles
Experience: 1st year at Nebraska
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.
h/t to Joe Dexter for the title..
|#32||L. Smith Jr.||20||28.0||10.0||43.9||66.7||40.3||5.7||1.7||1.4||1.9|
|eFG%||TO%||Off Reb||FT Rate||PPG||PPP (O)||PPP (D)|
Other than ball handling being relatively even for both teams, there is nothing to suggest, if the teams play to form, much of a game on Saturday. But, you and I know differently..
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.
All it took was an 11-0 run early in the first quarter for the Ohio State Buckeyes, as they rolled into the half with a sixteen point lead — bringing home their second victory of the season against Nebraska by a final of 79-45.
Despite Jared Sullinger missing a major chunk of the first half, the Buckeyes were able to pull away in a very quiet domination early and late in the first. Aaron Craft hit a three point jumper with 15:31 on the clock to tie the ballgame at eight. After the assist from Jared Sullinger, the big man would then distribute the basketball off to Lenzelle Smith for an easy layup. Deshaun Thomas would then nail five of his ten first half points on a layup and three pointer back to back making it 15-7 with 12 minutes to go in the first.
After William Buford drained a big three pointer with a hand in his face, with three minutes remaining in the half, The Buckeyes would go to the line six times down the stretch. With six seconds left, Aaron Craft drove the near sideline, pinballed through three defenders, and found an open Evan Ravenel in the low post, who kissed the glass to head into the second.