This is it, Sunday is the regular season finale for Ohio State (22-8, 9-8) and #22 Michigan State (22-7, 11-5). Prior to their first game (preview) on January 7th, Ohio State (15-0, 2-0) was ranked #3 and Michigan State (13-1, 2-0) was ranked #5. After trailing at the half, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback to tie the game in regulation, but lost in overtime, 72-68. Please note in the Preview, my Guest Commentator exactly nailed the margin. Since that game, the Buckeyes have gone 7-7 and are now “others receiving votes” while the Spartans have gone 8-6 and are ranked #22. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Right now, the teams are playing for Big Ten Tournament seeding. Ohio State will finish at #5 or #6 depending on results of this game, plus the Saturday Iowa-Illinois game. Michigan State, currently sitting in 2nd place, will keep an eye on Sunday’s Wisconsin-Nebraska game. The regular season championship is wrapped up, but for the Spartans, seeds #2-#4 are still in play.
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Thad Matta took his suddenly surging Buckeyes into Happy Valley tonight to avenge the January 29th overtime loss to the Nittany Lions, 71-70. Alas, it was not to be, as the Nittany Lions beat the Buckeyes 65-63, to sweep the season series. It was an excruciating end to the game as Ohio State, down 1 point with 10 seconds remaining, then 2 points with 6 seconds remaining, completely lost their sensibilities on offense. In both scenes, rather than attack the basket, Lenzelle Smith Jr launched two 3-point shots that clanged off the iron.
The Buckeyes were led by LaQuinton Ross (19 pts, 5 rebs), Aaron Craft (10 pts, 4 asst) and Trey McDonald (9 pts, 3 blks). Ohio State shot 43% from the field (20-47), only 67% from the free throw line (18-27) and an embarrassing (29% (5-17) from 3-point range. Lenzelle Smith did grab 6 defensive rebounds, but his choice of shooting, 1-6 from the perimeter was deeply disappointing, especially for a senior. Well, Ohio State is now 22-7, 9-7 and has lost to Penn State (twice) and Nebraska this season. This is not at all what I’d imagined.
The Nittany Lions were led by D.J. Newbill’s 23 points, and Tim Frazier’s 16 points. In the previous game against OSU, Newbill also had 25 points, so he’s probably on to something. Penn State shot 44% (19-43) from the floor, 79% (22-28) from the free throw line and 38% (5-13) from the perimeter.
Ohio State held the halftime lead 28-26. After a quick start, the Buckeye offense went dormant at the end of the half as LaQuinton Ross’ FG at the 5:03 was OSU’s last FG of the half. Both teams shot 40% from the field; OSU was 10-25 while PSU was 9-22. Penn State’s 8 turnovers, to OSU’s 5 helped to blunt PSU opportunities, but OSU’s terrible free throw shooting (4-9) really kept the 1st half closer than it should have.
Things were a little choppy early in the 2nd half as the refs didn’t want their whistles to go to waste. At the 17 minute marks, DJ Newbill Ft’s tied the game at 33. At the midpoint, PSU grabbed a 36-35 lead, due to OSU still not figuring out how to attack a zone defense. At the under-12, the game was tied at 38. OSu was getting outrebounded 27-17, with PSU having 6 offensive rebounds to OSU’s 3. Just inside the 10 minutes mark, PSU held a 45-42 lead. At the under 4-minute mark, PSU held a 55-51 lead, thanks to another DJ Newbill 3-pointer. At the under-2 mark, PSU held a 59-55 lead.with :54 PSU had a 62-59 lead and the ball, and it wasn’t looking good for the Good Guys.
The Buckeyes’ next game is Sunday afternoon in Bloomington, IN against the Indiana Hoosiers. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 PM EST and will be televised coverage will be provided by CBS, check local listings. LiveChat will be provided by tBBC, beginning approximately a half hour before tip-off, check back here.
The #22/#20 Ohio State Buckeyes (22-6, 9-6) travel to Happy Valley to play the Penn State Nittany Lions (13-14, 4-10) Thursday evening. In their previous meeting in Columbus, PSU overcame a 10 point deficit over the last 5:33, as D.J. Newbill scored the winning basket with: 03 remaining in overtime to give PSU a 71-70 win.
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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 entered tonight’s game against Northwestern looking to extend their winning streak (to two games!) and build some momentum prior to a regular season ending match against Michigan State. That they did, by moving to 21-6, 8-6 on the season with a 76-60 win over Northwestern. Since the Michigan loss, Ohio State is 2-0 in their 5-game stretch prior to hosting MSU to end the regular season. In a game that got chippy at around the 5 minute point, marked by player ejections (Cerina and LaQuinton Ross), the Buckeyes held their composure and overwhelmed the Wildcats in the 2nd half 39-27, after outscoring them in the 1st half 37-33.
Ohio State was led by four players in double figures; Amir Williams (16 pts), Sam Thompson (11), Aaron Craft (14) and Lenzelle Smith (14). Smith managed a double-double by pulling in 10 rebounds. In his first action of the season, Andrew Goldstein went scoreless. Darn it.
The Buckeyes shot 46% (23-50) and better yet, 44% (7-16) from the perimeter. The difference-maker was OSU’s foul shooting, as they outscored Northwestern 23-9 from the free throw line.
Northwestern was led by Drew Crawford (22 pts) and Tre Demps (14 pts). The Wildcats also shot 46% (23-50) from the field.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (20-6, 7-6) host the Northwestern Wildcats (12-14, 5-8) Wednesday evening at 7:00 PM EST. As bad as January was for the Buckeyes, February is turning out to be just as good. Meanwhile, the Wildcats are trying to right their ship. They went on a 2-week tear in mid-January to win four of five games, but have now lost three straight.
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It’s been awhile since we last visited RSB, so I will keep them short and sweet today. The amazing thing since football season is that I really have to search for things to write about when it comes to the Bumblin part, this week it was handed to me like a lob in slow-pitch softball. Let’s get trucking with the good!
The men’s and women’s basketball teams have been heading in opposite directions the past couple of weeks. Coach McGuff’s team has hit their hard part of the schedule and Thad Matta’s bunch has picked it up during a rough span save for the loss at home to TTUN.
Coach Kevin McGuff has actually done a great coaching job with this years unit who were not expected to compete in the B1G let alone upset some of the better teams with what was left in the cupboard by Coach Foster. Truth be known he has a first class staff that has been working it’s tail off, and the players tails, since day one. His organizational skills and the ability to get a lot out of those players has been rather remarkable. There is plenty of help on the horizon as he quite possibly has the number one class in the country for next year. Late in the season Coach McGuff and staff get a A- from me personally.
I want to go on record as saying that something I put into a basketball roundtable here a few weeks ago was way off base.
Thad Matta. I have been amazed at the coaching jobs he has done in the past with respect to letting his teams work themselves out of a slump or trouble. I have believed for a long time he could make any team better and is struggling to do so with this group. I don’t see a lot of improvement in them but we will see how they are when it really counts in March.
Funny what a little winning streak can do for a persons beliefs. What I have come to realize is that Thad probably is doing his best coaching job ever. I mean let’s face it, he’s working with far less than maybe he ever has since coming to Columbus. He will win a minimum of 20 games again to start his career. Yeah, think about that for just a second. He will have won atleast 20 games every season he has been a head coach. Really a remarkable statistic considering most people would struggle to 500 with a couple of those teams including the current one.
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