The first game of the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-off featured the Ohio State Buckeyes taking on the Rhode Island Rams. The Rams did everything they could to give the Buckeyes a good fight throughout the game, but the Buckeyes’ talent proved superior in the end as they fought to a 69-58 victory. DeShaun Thomas led all scorers with 25 points, and picked up a double double on the game with 12 rebounds – his first double double on the season. Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith also picked up double digits in scoring for OSU with 13 and 10 respectively. Rhode Island
Rhode Island came into the game with an excellent game-plan to attack the Buckeyes defensively. Instead of sticking with only one defensive set, they instead flopped between man and 2-3 zone almost possession-to-possession. The strategy greatly confused the Buckeyes early on in the first half and allowed the Rams to stay in the game only down four at the break. In fact, the only thing that kept the Buckeyes from being down at the half was a 15-4 run through the last few minutes of the half which started when they began attacking the basket.
It was the second half that the Buckeyes began to exert control. Rhode Island found it difficult to keep up with Ohio State’s scoring, especially as the Buckeyes began to find success on the fast break, and when they started attacking the basket more aggressively. Credit Rhode Island for not giving up, even having a chance with three minutes left down only 9 points. But the Buckeyes regained control and closed out the game with authority.
The Buckeyes are playing two games today. The first, starting at 3:30 PM EST is the big game against the Wisconsin Badgers. At 5:00 PM EST, while the Wisconsin game is still on-going, the Buckeye Shooty Hoopers will be taking on the Rhode Island Rams in Connecticut. We’ll be chatting about both games in our liveblog.
Joining us as usual – and special thanks to all of them for making these such a great success – are the other members of the Buckeye Blogger Network. Make sure to stop by their place and say, “hey”: Buckeye Ninja, Our Honor Defend, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Buckeye Empire, Silver Bullet, The Buckeye Blog, Unscripted Ohio, and Fox Sports Ohio.
The Liveblog will tip at 3:00 PM EST, with the Wisconsin game on ABC at 3:30. The Basketball game is on ESPN3 (hope you have an XBox360 or similar ESPN3 enabled device) at 5:00 PM.
We continue our look at the NCAA tournament field with our third of three regions. Jay and Joe already did a fantastic job with the West and Southeast regions yesterday. The Southwest region seems a lot easier to predict than the Southeast with a lot fewer chances for upsets in the first round. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some teams to look out for, though!
Favorites: There is no question about the top favorite for this bracket. Kansas, last year’s overall #1 seed, is in no danger of facing the same fate as last year. This year’s team is a dangerously deep and talented group, not dependent on any one player to get the job done. The Morris brothers, Markieff and Marcus, lead the team in points per game and rebounds per game as well as leading a trio of fantastic frontcourt players. Overall, Kansas plays with an incredibly fast pace, and runs with a significant height advantage that could give their opponents trouble.
Keep an eye on Purdue as well. While the Boilermakers ended the season in pathetic fashion (losses to Iowa and Michigan State), they are still a spectacularly dangerous team when they’re on their game. Expect Matt Painter to lead his team deep into the tournament as he’ll be more than capable of refocusing his troops on the importance of March.