A Guest Post by Zach Attack…
Big win for OSU Saturday night at Crisler Arena, as they were in need of a good road win & this was a golden opportunity for it. This now makes Thad Matta 8-1 career against the Wolverines (Tressel is 7-1 – that’s what I call dominance from OSU coaches).
If OSU can manage a win at Illinois next week (obviously a BIG “if”), then they’ll get themselves back into position to contend for the Big Ten title.
A small recap: OSU only lead at the half by 4 after shooing 54% while Michiganshot 30%. Things really turned in OSU’s favor down the stretch, and that’s why they won the game. I think the win would’ve been easier had Jeremie Simmons not been in foul trouble, as he was playing pretty well & PJ Hill wasn’t (hegave OSU some very valuable minutes, but he looks like such a spaz on the court). There were some plays when it would’ve been better had Hill not beenin the play at all (e.g., the play where Sims dove into Hill and PJ knocked the ball out of bounds when it would’ve been off of UM had he not been there),but he also had a great block mistakenly called a goal tend & he had a niceentry pass to BJ Mullens that Mullens wasn’t quite able to convert on.
The Buckeyes victory last night was so impressive because they did it with 2 sophomores and a freshmen. The officiating in this game was god awful which resulted in the Buckeyes starting point guard Jeremie Simmons riding the pine for almost the entire second half (Kudos to Simmons by the way for his first half play, he finally is getting some confidence at the point guard position)and I thought it would really hurt them, but having the trio of Evan Turner,William Buford and BJ Mullens step up lead to a big victory for the Buckeyes.
So without Simmons, David Lighty still injured, Crater transferring and the loss Kecman for the season, Turner, Buford and Mullens took over this game for the Buckeyes. Keep in mind that it goes sophomore, freshmen, freshmen with Turner, Buford and Mullens. I would love to have all 3 back next season, but it seems highly unlikely. Although Mullens has not be as advertised, he is really coming on strong at this point of the season with a lot of basketball left to play. With a little more seasoning and a good showing down the stretch, in the Big 10 tourney and in the NCAA tourney, he will most likely bolt for the NBA draft. He could still have an outside shot at being a lottery pick.
William Buford has one of the sweetest shots I’ve ever seen. He is also very rangy for a wing and can drive to the hoop when he needs to. He is the one out of the 3 that I see staying another year.
Evan Turner is the kind of player that NBA scouts salivate over. He is 6’7 with a ridiculous wingspan and can do it all. He’s played 3 different positions in 2 years now with Ohio State. Look at his #’s from the Michigan game last night: 19 points, 8 boards and 6 assists. That is a lot of production for a college basketball player. I watch a lot of college basketball, and I am a little bias towards OSU obviously, but I haven’t seen a player able to slash through a defense like Evan Turner in a long time. He carved up Michigan’s zone in the first 15 minutes last night which resulted inthem playing man-to-man the last 5 minutes of the first half (and went on a 9-2 run to make it close at the half) and the entire second half. Manny Harris and Turner put up similar numbers last night (Harris had 21 points, 7 boardsand 6 assists) but what separates them is defense. Manny Harris is a horribledefender. I don’t know if it’s just Beilen’s overall defense (which I’m not afan of) but he got beat off the dribble last night several times (mainly by Turner which resulted in several alley-oops and easy buckets). Turner’swingspan helps him out tremendously defensively. Turner’s biggest problem is turnovers. He has the tendency to commit some pretty dumb turnovers. He gets alittle too fancy sometimes and will travel or carry the ball. Manny Harris is a heckuva basketball player, but if the 2 went pro tomorrow, Turner would be a higher draft pick.
All in all, a good team win and a good resume win. This was a UM team that had beaten Duke and UCLA, so winning on the road there is a very solid win. In ESPN’s most recent mid-season bracketology the Buckeyes are slated as a # 9 seed. Like I said above, if the Buckeyes can steal a win in Illinois next week and be 15-3 going into the end of January, they will have a good shot at aBig 10 title. After Illinois, the only tough remaining games are: hot MSU team at home (OSU beat them at home last year), Michigan @ home, Minnesota @ Home,Purdue @ Home and on the Road, and a trip to Madison to play Wisconsin in anight battle. Other then that, the schedule is pretty easy. Even if the Buckeyes split those games, that would leave them 18-6 with easy part of the schedule coming up AND David Lighty returning sometime in February. Things look very promising for OSU basketball.
Lastly, I have to give a shout out to James Chubbs Dunn on this one. I texted him after the game to give him a little shit about the game and of course he responded with the usual, “congrats, we played the worst game of the season” “you couldn’t beat Duke or UCLA” “and Michigan is still the better team” … all that bullshit. Michigan the better team? Better team? I wanna say that like Jim Mora says “playoffs?” Chubbs-our best player and only upperclassmen (we don’t have a senior on the roster) has a broken foot, ourpoint guard didn’t play the whole second half because of the referees homering Ohio State and we STILL waxed you on your home court by a bunch of youngsters. You may once again be setting yourself up for failure in basketball (much like football) because Michigan’s remaining schedule is brutal and they are going to need some solid wins in the conference to get into the big dance…
Thanks for the post Z.