The Buckeye Watch
By Tony Gerdeman
That's Northwestern for you. Always trying to ruin things, but ultimately just hurting themselves.
Ohio State's 58-57 win over the Wildcats wasn't unexpected, even if the margin was. But that's life on the road in the Big Ten. Sure, ESPN was completely unaware that playing on the road is different than playing at home, but I don't think anybody else was.
A one-point win is not an incredible upset, regardless of what ESPN tells you. Especially on the road. But again, ESPN must not know this.
5:55 Penn State is about to beat Wisconsin. That's going to be a huge win for them, and a huge win for Ohio State. Not everybody can completely shut down Talor Battle the way Aaron Craft can. Honestly, it's not fair to flesh and blood mortals to expect them to.
6:06 Well, I'm an idiot. I've been waiting for the game to come on the Big Ten Network. I just happened to notice that it was on ESPN2 instead. The score is 4-2 Buckeyes. I'm sure those were all routine scores. The baskets are still standing and I only see four bloodstains on the court.
6:09 Whoa. William Buford drives and lays it in with the left hand. Don't think I've seen that before. This move to quasi-point guard will pay off with a comfort level that he never had before.
6:10 Um, what? Dallas Lauderdale just went one-on-one from 23 feet out for a layup. Jared Sullinger just one-upped him by getting a steal at the top of the key, dribbling behind his back, and then going coast-to-coast for a dunk. The Buckeyes now have five point guards on the floor, and that's without Craft.
6:11 Once Lauderdale gets a pull-up jumper to go with his nasty driving ability, he'll be unstoppable!
6:16 I love the ball movement on this team. You know it's good when you see an open Diebler and they don't go to him because there's an even easier shot in the paint. Just so many good passers on this team.
6:21 David Lighty has now been called for traveling twice, and I'm not sure either of them were actually travels. He's got a long stride. Two steps is two steps, regardless of amount of ground covered.
6:26 It's weird being #1. Ohio State is up 17-10 and all the ESPN guys can talk about is the way the Buckeyes are struggling right now.
6:27 Sullinger just missed a bit of a wild shot. He hasn't gotten many good looks yet. Have to give Northwestern credit, but it's only going to make him angry.
6:28 I will agree with Dan Dakich that the Buckeyes are struggling a bit in their defense, but that's what Northwestern's offense does.
6:34 Sullinger just got doubled and hit by both defenders. No foul. Instead the shot was “blocked”. Now Northwestern hits a three to take the lead 18-17 with 4:30 to play, and as I type this, Craft hits a 17-footer to get the lead back. He's so cool.
6:35 I'm getting tired of these announcers talking about how amazing it is that Northwestern is even in this game. Is this the first time they've ever seen a sporting event?
6:36 Jon Diebler gets thrown down to the floor while playing defense. Foul on Diebler. I hate complaining about refs, but I hate refs more for making me complain about them.
6:39 I think Northwestern would win the national championship if they lost a player prior to every single game of the NCAA Tournament.
6:40 Diebler drives, gets bodied, misses shot. No call. Fortunately, Sullinger got the rebound and the put back. It's tied 23-23 with 2:00 to play.
6:41 Three-pointer by Aaron Craft from Sullinger. Sully backed his man down, who then flopped like floppers do. Surprisingly, no call. Buckeyes up by three.
6:44 Craft goes all Tyus Edney coast-to-coast in the final five seconds and gets fouled on the layup attempt. He missed, but he'll shoot two with about a second on the clock. The officials are looking at the play to see where the clock was when he got fouled. They'll first have to decide which of the two fouls they are going to recognize. They called the latter, and put 0.4 seconds back on the clock. Craft for two with the Buckeyes leading 26-25. The first is good. The second is not. Buckeyes lead it 27-25 at the half. Northwestern wins!!
6:51 This old-school Northwestern pace is killing me. Buckeyes need to make things a bit more hectic in the second half. Having more Lighty for the final twenty minutes will help.
6:58 Northwestern fans wearing “All We Do Is Win” shirts is hilarious. Especially when “All We Do Is Never Go To The NCAA Tournament” shirts would be much more accurate.
7:05 Dallas Lauderdale just pulled off a nice spinning left-handed hook. He's like Magic Johnson if Magic Johnson had a better post game.
7:07 The Buckeyes have three possessions and three baskets. Now lead it 33-27. ESPN is getting sad.
7:10 William Buford has two shots and two baskets in this half. He's been able to take his man into the paint and there's no answer on Northwestern's part. He's getting good looks. Keep going to that well until the last drop of moisture is gone.
7:13 Jared Sullinger has now taken over this game. If you want to watch the game from this point forward, you're going to need his express written consent. Buckeyes lead it 39-29.
7:17 Craft just trolled the lane for the and-one layup. He fly fishes with the basketball, and these Northwestern fish keep taking the bait. Drew Crawford just picked up his fourth foul. See ya. Buckeyes lead it 44-32.
7:18 Sullinger is strong. He got the ball down low, lost it on the floor, grabbed it back, went up with it, got hit by the meanest, gnarliest Wildcat there is (some white dude), and still had enough strength to get the score. He'll be heading to the free throw line after the timeout.
7:25 Jon Diebler doesn't have a three-pointer yet. He's got a streak of 37 games going right now. Thad Matta needs to draw something up.
7:27 Hmm. Could be a huge sequence for Northwestern. They were down 51-39, but hit an open three as somebody down low got fouled. They'll shoot a free throw for a four-point play. The Buckeyes were about to burn this campsite down too.
7:30 Whoa. They called Lauderdale for an intentional foul on that three-pointer. He got his elbow too high. So the Wildcats will get two shots and the ball. The first free throw is good. The second is not. Now they get the ball. Looking at a possible seven-point possession.
7:31 And there it is. JerShon Cobb hits a three from the wing to make it 51-46. That's crazy. I've never seen that before.
7:33 Another long offensive rebound for Northwestern. That's probably about their fifth. Still better than making the shots, though. Unless, like just now, they answer by hitting a three as Michael Thompson just did. 53-49 Buckeyes with 5:39 to play. No worries.
7:37 Northwestern hits their third straight three to cut Ohio State's lead to one point. They've made three threes in a row, and the Buckeyes have missed their last three free throws. Until that one. Sullinger just made a foul shot, and missed his second. Buckeyes by two with 4:07 to play.
7:38 Unbelievable! Thompson hits ANOTHER three to give the Wildcats the one-point lead. That three is answered by Jon Diebler's first three of the game!! Buckeyes by two. Thad Matta calls a timeout. Well, that's a pretty good time to extend a streak. He answers more big threes with threes of his own than anybody I've ever seen.
7:41 The Buckeyes have two offensive rebounds, both by Sullinger.
7:42 Northwestern misses a three-pointer! They MISSED it! AND the Buckeyes got the rebound! Now I've seen everything!!
7:46 Okay, NOW I've seen everything. A palming call was just made, unfortunately it was against William Buford. The refs probably had to look in the rule book to see if that was still illegal. Though I do find it interesting that palming is something you can call on every possession, and they decided to call it now.
7:47 Juice Thompson ties it up with a floater in the lane and the Buckeyes just turned it over again. Northwestern ball with 1:14 to play. An interesting development to say the least.
7:48 Craft on Thompson, and Craft gets whistled for playing defense. A reach in. Acceptable call. There's 46.2 remaining. Northwestern will be in the penalty on the next foul.
7:50 Craft on Thompson again. Milking the clock. He gives it up. Under ten now. Stolen by David Lighty on the back cut. Buckeyes ball with ten seconds to play. Craft to Diebler to Sullinger, who gets fouled with 3.5 seconds to play!! Wow, way to trust your veteran team and freshmen point guard.
7:51 Here's the first free throw. It's short. He's been in this position before and done just fine. The second is all net! Buckeyes lead it 58-57 with 3.5 seconds to play. Timeout to draw up Northwestern's miraculous finish.
7:52 Whatever you do, don't get your toes over the line on the inbounds defense. They'll be looking for it. Or, at least don't do it a second time.
7:54 Here we go. Or not. Thad calls another timeout. I just get this feeling that Ohio State is going to get called for a foul.
7:55 Here we go...again. Nobody on the inbounds pass. Crawford gets it and throws up a halfcourt shot. He misses left. I generally have no problem with halfcourt shots, but Northwestern had 3.5 seconds to play with. There's no reason for them to have to begin a shot from so far away but I'll take it. Buckeyes win 58-57. My television is pretty bummed. Almost as bummed as Northwestern.
7:56 The Buckeyes move to 22-0 and 9-0 in Big Ten play. They now have a two-game lead (essentially a three-game lead) on second-place Purdue. But more importantly, they did what few teams were able to do today—they avoided the upset.
7:59 Next up for the Buckeyes is Michigan. Like a nice back rub after a hard day's work. Looking forward to it.
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