It was a tale of two halves in this game. Ohio State came out on fire defensively. After giving up the first three points of the game, the defense stepped up and forced 9 turnovers and scored 16 points off of them. At one point in the first Ohio State was up by 21 points and with about 7 minutes to go in the first half Michigan only had 8 points total. Michigan’s zone defensive combined with the Buckeyes getting in foul trouble, allowed the Wolverines to get within 12 at the half.
The second half was a back and forth tussle in which Ohio State was hoping the buffer that that built in the first half would be enough to pull off the upset. Michigan cut down on their turnovers and forced Ohio State into a slow down, half court game that proved to be a problem for the Buckeyes. They used this style of play to cut the lead down to 2 at one point but couldn’t take over the lead. With 12 seconds to go in the game, Lenzelle Smith Jr. hit two free throws to extend the lead to four and propel the Buckeyes to a 56-53 victory. Read More
Ohio State’s men’s basketball team will likely find itself in unfamiliar territory on Sunday as a home underdog.
The Buckeyes, coming off of a 74-64 road victory against Purdue on Tuesday, will host arch rival and undefeated Michigan on Sunday.
Along with Duke, Michigan has been the most impressive team in the country so far this season. The Wolverines feature a balanced scoring attack, led by player of the year candidate Trey Burke.
Michigan has four players who average in double digit scoring: Burke at 18.2 points per game, Tim Hardaway Jr. with 16.3, Nik Stauskas at 13.5 and Glenn Robinson III with 12.6.
As much as it may pain Buckeye fans to admit, Michigan seems like it is on a mission to not only win the Big Ten title, but contend for a national title as well.
However, this game on Sunday is in Columbus. After being embarrassed by Illinois, the Buckeyes rebounded nicely against Purdue and played a pretty solid game. They will need a near perfect game on Sunday to beat the Wolverines and I have got five keys for Ohio State to defeat Michigan:
1. Points from players not named Deshaun Thomas: This is the theme of the season for Ohio State against good teams. Deshaun Thomas cannot beat Michigan alone as the Wolverines are too good. He will need some help. Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross seem to be the likely candidates who can score the basketball at times for OSU. They will likely need at least two of these three guys in double digits to have a chance. Read More
People like lists.
Whether they agree with them or not, people still enjoy reading lists.
Basketball is the ultimate team sport. But, at the same time, it is one that can be taken over by a single player. There have been some incredible individual performances over the past couple of seasons in the Big Ten and this year should bring more of the same.
The 2012-2013 season seems to have the Big Ten as strong as it’s ever been. Three teams (Indiana, Ohio State and Michigan) are all ranked in the top five in preseason polls.
On those great teams obviously are some outstanding players. So here are my top ten players in the Big Ten conference for this upcoming season.
10. Brandon Paul (SG, Illinois)
Those unforgettable individual performances from last season I mentioned earlier in this column? Yeah, Brandon Paul had one of those when he lit up Ohio State for 43 points. The senior guard averaged 14.7 points per game last year and is as solid of an all-around player as you will find in the Big Ten. This will be Paul’s senior season for the Illini and knowing they have a player of his caliber on the floor, you can never count the Illini out of any game.
9. Keith Appling (PG, Michigan State)
With Draymond Green finally departing from East Lansing, the Spartans become Appling’s team. Appling averaged 11.4 points and 3.9 assists per game last year, and with Green gone and it being his team this year, there should be a jump in those stats this year. Head coach Tom Izzo will have his Spartans right in the thick of things again this year in the Big Ten and Appling will be his best player.
8. Christian Watford (F, Indiana)
Watford may have already had his moment in his college career when he hit the game-winning shot at the buzzer last year to knock off No. 1 and eventual national champion Kentucky. You learned a lot about Watford’s game with that shot, though. He’s absolutely fearless and he’s got a smoothness to his game that is fun to watch. He averaged 12.6 points and 5.8 rebounds per game a year ago while shooting 43.7% from deep. Watford will no doubt be a key component to Indiana’s national title run.
7. Tim Hardaway Jr. (SG, Michigan)
Hardaway Jr. had somewhat of a disappointing sophomore season after an outstanding freshman campaign. But, that doesn’t take away from his talent. He’s a sensational all-around player who averaged 14.6 points per game a year ago. If Michigan wants to be an elite team this year, it will need more production out of the junior guard.
6. Trevor Mbakwe (F, Minnesota)
I had a difficult time trying to figure out where to rank Mbakwe as he comes back from tearing his ACL and only playing in seven games last year. In those seven games, Mbakwe averaged 14 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. If he is fully recovered, he is easily a candidate to be an All-American. He can be a dominating force in the paint, but once again, the question is his health. Read More
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.
There was no doubt from the opening tip to the buzzer at the end of the game who the better team was in this semi-final match-up between rivals Michigan and Ohio State. Not only did the Buckeyes break the back of their biggest rival, they did it playing the best all-around basketball we have seen all season. As we continue to roll into the most important part of March, the Buckeyes improve every single time on the floor.
And for those questioning whether Ohio State’s big man is really a top player in College Basketball, how bout you do me a favor?
Ask John Beilein how he feels Jared Sullinger compares to everyone else he faces. He might throw a fist at your face after being embarrassed 77-55 at Bankers Life Field House in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
The sophomore came out of the blocks possessed, and looking like the number one pick everyone thinks he can be. After a turnaround jumper from the baseline on the far side to start the afternoon’s scoring, he would score 4 out of the next six, block a Trey Burke layup attempt and draw the offensive charge call.
Out of the gates, the Buckeyes controlled the basketball with great shot selection, ball movement and a steady dose of points in the paint.
Meanwhile Michigan started the game going 1/11 from the floor, out of their offensive element, and broken down defensively inside.
Sullinger, who John Beilein has schemed well against this year despite not having a post player with his size, took over the ballgame as we’ve expected from him this year. After a 30 point effort last night, the big man went out there and scored 24 points (three less than both his efforts combined this season against Michigan) while grabbing 6 boards, 2 blocks, 1 steal and 1 assist.
For the first time ever the top four seeds of the Big Ten tournament have advanced to the semi-finals. The three co-champions are still in, and still have an opportunity to prove that they are indeed the best team in the Big Ten.
Ohio State and Michigan get to prove it on the court today.
Today is the rubber game in this season’s series. Both teams split the regular season meetings, with the Buckeyes taking a 64-49 win at home, while Michigan emerged victorious in Ann Arbor 56-51.
But this game has even more historical significance. The Buckeyes and Wolverines have encountered each other repeatedly over the last several years in the Big Ten Tournament. Last season, the Bucks handled Michigan in the semi-finals 68-61 by opening up a significant lead halfway through the second half and coasting to the win. The year before saw Evan Turner’s last second buzzer beater sink Michigan’s hopes of upsetting the #1 seed in the quarterfinals, ending a fairly close game 69-68.
The Wolverines welcomed the Buckeyes into the Crisler center this weekend, and sent the Buckeyes packing with their fifth loss of the season by a score of 56-51. The Buckeyes struggled shooting the whole night but had several chances to tie it up late in the second. Unfortunately, Michigan did just enough to keep Ohio State from ever gaining the lead. DeShaun Thomas had a huge game for the Buckeyes picking up a double double by scoring 25 points on 8-13 shooting, including 3-6 from three, and grabbing 13 rebounds. Trey Burke lead the Wolverines with 17 points and 5 assists for the game.
The Michigan defense came to play early in this one. Ohio State’s offense needed several trips before they finally found their first bucket from the left elbow from DeShaun Thomas – a shot he repeated on the subsequent trip down. The Wolverines weren’t going to let such a golden opportunity escape them, putting down 8 points before the first TV timeout and getting the crowd into the game in a big way.
The offensive explosion from the guys in maize was particularly impressive as they spread the scoring out evenly amongst the starters. Trey Burke had a nice dribble drive with several spin moves to get a good close range shot, while Tim Hardaway had an excellent 18 footer from the left wing. Morgan and Novak also hit a couple easy baskets to help out the run.
Hardaway came to play in this one and dropped several big shots from the outside. Having disappeared for several straight games, his presence was much needed for this Michigan team to have success. With his shots falling from the outside, especially with Buford going cold for most of the night, it was a very bad sign for the Bucks on the road.
The Buckeyes are in the AA this evening for their second shooty hoops battle with the Michigan Wolverines! The game tips at 9:00 PM EST on ESPN.
While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 8:30 PM EST.