The Buckeyes escaped their tough test in Evanston, but now get a much more stiff examination. Ohio State will be in Bloomington tonight to take on the top team in the Big Ten – the Indiana Hoosiers.
Today’s game is scheduled for 9 PM EST on the Big Ten Network. The LiveBlog is scheduled to start 15 minutes before tip.
After a two and a half month hiatus, I triumphantly return to the ranks of the Basketball previewers! Of course, my return is timed to coincide with the toughest game on the schedule this year. Let’s take a look.
|Division:||NCAA Division 1|
|Stadium:||Assembly Hall…no, the other one.|
|Head Coach:||Tom Crean|
Here we are, another week. Grab your coffee and let’s get right to it.
A bit of a slow week, but not entirely dormant for Buckeye fans. Obviously, I’m referring to Jim Bollman being hired as OC by Michigan State after a quite brief stint as offensive line coach at Purdue. Evidently, Jim thought that he only needed a month or so to get the Purdue offensive line to the standards that we experienced in Columbus during his tenure. Since this chain of events involved Bollman, Mark Dantonio and Darrell Hazell, the Jim Tressel Coaching Tree is in full leaf.
Entering the week, the Buckeyes came off an impressive display of basketball, gouging the Gophers 71-45 in Columbus. Then Ohio State had a truly inspired effort to beat a tough, especially this time of year, Michigan State team, 68-60 on Sunday. On Wednesday OSU had an all too common experience in Evanston, toughing out a 63-53 win over a shorthanded Northwestern squad. There was quite a bit of ebb and flow until about the 3:57 mark, after ‘Zelle Smith’s 3-pointer gave OSU the lead 51-49. From that point on, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots by the Buckeyes ebbed the Wildcats into submission. Read More
After two intense, focused, well-played games against Minnesota and Michigan State, Ohio State went to Evanston for the return match against Northwestern. Despite being substantially undermanned, the game pretty much went as they usually do in Evanston. The Buckeyes took down the Wildcats 63-53. It was anything but easy, and everything you’ve come to expect when these teams play in Evanston. Lenzelle Smith led all scorers with 24 points while DeShaun Thomas scored 19 for the game. Northwestern saw only Tre Demps (14) and Dave Sobolewski (13) score in double digits for the game.
The Bucks squeaked out this win to get closer to a #4 seed in Big Ten Tourney. After exploding out of the gates, thanks to Lenzelle Smith Jr.’s 3-point deluge, the Buckeyes settled into some uninspired offense. After DeShaun Thomas got the show started with a field goal 17 seconds into the game, by the 17:00 mark, ‘Zelle was 3-3 from ‘3’. Halfway through the 1st half, OSU had a 20-10 lead. Things flattened out quite a bit as they only managed 9 more points and went into half 29-22.
Fortunately, the Buckeyes did manage to play some defense, limiting Northwestern to 7 field goals (35%), while committing 6 turnovers. This was a half of wasted opportunities; defense played reasonably well enough, but the offense hit stretches where it just stalled. For example, in the last four minutes of the half, OSU was 0-4 from the field.
The 2nd half started with aggressive play from the Wildcats as they got whistled for 4 fouls in just over a minute of play. They also found their range, making their first four FG’s and 2 Ft’s to pull with 2, 36-34. The 1st half offensive woes were solved for the moment. Meanwhile OSU went cold.
In the end, the Bucks managed to retake the lead with 3:50 to play on a trey by Smith. Then, similarly to the game in Columbus, OSU was able to gradually pull away for the final margin. The win moves the Buckeyes to 21-7, 11-5 for the season.
Riding a two game win streak, including last Sunday’s great win over the Spartans, the Buckeyes are now facing what may or may not be an extremely dangerous test – the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, Illinois. The pretty kitties have a tendency to play tenacious basketball at home, and the Bucks haven’t always done so well against the Princeton Offense, but the sheer quantity of injuries to the ‘Cats might make it difficult for them.
Today’s game is scheduled for 7 PM EST on the Big Ten Network. The LiveBlog is scheduled to start 15 minutes before tip.
The NFL Combine is over. Basketball season is getting good and maybe, just maybe the Buckeyes are catching their second wind. It’s Wednesday, let’s rumble!
NFL player factory
Seven Buckeyes were selected to participate in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Indiana. John Simon, Jonathan Hankins, Jake Stoneburner, Zack Boren, Reid Fragel, Nathan Williams and Etienne Sabino were poked, prodded and dissected by doctors and NFL executives. They then went onto the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for tests of agility, speed and overall skill. Read More
The Spartans and Buckeyes played yet another late season game for the ages. Despite not coming down to a last second shot, the Buckeyes still needed to hold on late to secure the 68-60 victory. Aaron Craft put down 21 points and 6 assists, DeShaun Thomas dropped 13 points and 6 rebounds, and Evan Ravenel added ten points of his own. Michigan State freshman Gary Harris led the way for the Spartans with 14 points and 5 rebounds, and was joined in double figures by Adreian Payne and Derrick Nix who both scored 12.
Not surprisingly, the first half was a fast paced affair for both squads. Despite Michigan State’s excellent shooting percentage for the half – just shy of 50% – they weren’t able to open a big lead on the Buckeyes due to turnovers and solid defensive play from the Scarlet and Gray. It all began to unravel at the end of the half, though, as Michigan State took advantage of sloppy decision making from the Bucks to open up a six point lead going into the lockers.
For a brief period, it looked like the Spartans were going to continue the streak from the end of the first half. A quick timeout from Matta allowed the Buckeyes to reset their defense and begin to chip away at the lead. That turned into an OSU lead on a Lenzelle Smith triple with 13 minutes left in the game. That was a part 24-8 run to give the Buckeyes a double digit lead. It was a lead the Buckeyes would not relinquish for the remainder of the game – though not for lack of trying on the Spartan’s part.
After the Minnesota game, we weren’t certain if this team would take the next step. I think it’s safe to say that they’ve now done that. I expect that the Bucks will likely go 2-1 over the next three heading into the Big Ten Tournament, but a win at Indiana could make a huge difference in the outlook for this team this year. We’ll have to see what happens, but things are promising right now.
The Buckeyes are coming off an impressive home win over the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The question remains, though, if it’s enough to carry them to victory today against the much more game Michigan State Spartans.
Today’s game is scheduled for 4 PM EST on CBS (oh joy…). The LiveBlog is scheduled to start 15 minutes before tip.