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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 03/12/2011 6:23 PM

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Men's Basketball
Buckeye Watch - Big Ten Tournament - Michigan
By Tony Gerdeman

The Buckeyes defeated Michigan again. This time in basketball, 68-61.

The Wolverines hung in there for as long as they could before giving up. It was a valiant effort by a team that just wouldn't quit until they finally quit. Truly heroic.

Michigan shot 9-29 from three-point land, which is pretty good considering Tim Hardaway Jr went 2-9 (despite constant accolades). The Buckeyes didn't shoot much better, just 5-14, but at least they figured out that if the deep shot isn't falling, take the ball to the basket. That's why they shot 13 more free throws than the Wolverines.

Now Michigan will go home and wait to see where they'll play in the NCAA Tournament. Even though the Buckeyes have beaten them three times already this season, I wouldn't want to play them again, however, because this dead horse reeks.

1:07 Yesterday after Michigan won, Zack Novak said this about the Buckeyes: “We kind of have their number, other than the fact we haven't beat them. We've played them close the last three times.” If this isn't a perfect description of Michigan basketball over the last 15 years or so, I don't know what is.

1:10 Ted Valentine, Ed Hightower and Gene Steratore are the refs for this game. It's ridiculously sad that that matters.

1:35 As if you didn't know that this would happen, the CUSA championship game is tied with the Buckeye game just five minutes from tip. This is getting a bit ridiculous.

1:39 Ha! Now they're switching to the Ohio State game with just 20 seconds or so to play, but first they have to show me commercials, meaning they didn't have to break away to show me basketball, they had to break away to show me commercials. That's CBS sports in a nutshell.

1:41 We're back to the CUSA game with Memphis down by one point and going to the line for two free throws. He makes both!! He makes both!! I don't believe what I just saw!! A Memphis Tiger just made two free throws in a row!!

1:42 Now to the Ohio State game. They missed the tip, but there's no score. Usual starting five. Buckeyes in all-white, Michigan in all-vomit.

1:43 Now we're back to the CUSA game. Memphis wins, and hundreds care.

1:44 Jon Diebler drives and spins in the lane for the left-hand layup. He is so comfortable doing that now. It's a beautiful thing to watch.

1:46 Diebler with another move towards the paint with an eight-footer. If he can play inside the three-point line this well the rest of the way out, the Buckeyes become even more dynamic.

1:49 Jared Sullinger is 0-2 from the field right now. He's only been over 50% once in his last five games. He's settling too much because he's not getting many calls underneath over that span.

1:52 William Buford hesitated for a baseline three, tthen misses it. I don't understand why he hesitated, other than he doesn't have his shot today.

1:53 Wow. Aaron Craft can even draw an offensive foul defending one-on-one in the post. The kid is amazing.

1:54 Sullinger gathers his own offensive rebound, finds Diebler and Diebler drains a three. He's got seven points now on three shots. I like it when he's hot early.

1:56 Ouch. Craft just picked up his second foul. Zero tolerance from Valentine and company, though I can't disagree with any of the calls.

1:57 I just don't really have a great feeling about this exhibition game.

2:02 Great pick and roll between Buford and Sullinger leads to a soft lay-in by Sully. Good to see something actually drop for him.

2:03 Now David Lighty picks up his second foul because he couldn't get around Evan Smotrzcyzcyz's knee on a screen. Now Jordan Sibert comes in. They immediately attack him, but miss a three-pointer.

2:06 Airball from three by Evan Smotrizch. He'll make eight in a row now.

2:11 Jim Nantz bringing it strong on the Fab Five, saying they ruined Michigan basketball. You go Jim! Though I'd say it's a bit extreme to say they ruined Michigan basketball. They merely sped up inevitability.

2:12 Great steal and two-hand dunk by Jordan Sibert! Just getting him more comfortable is a win for Ohio State today.

2:13 Stu Douglass and Darius Morris have hit consecutive threes to tie the game at 20-20, but Diebler answers with one of his own. He's now 2-3 from three-point land. Would be nice to see somebody else hit a jumper though.

2:15 Sullinger is a freaking monster on the offensive glass, I just wish he'd make his first attempt so that he wouldn't have to be.

2:16 Wow, how about Jared Sullinger. He throws a bad pass that gets stolen by Morris, then is able to get defensive position and gets Morris called for charging. Too smart.

2:22 Now Sibert has two fouls. I wonder how worried Thad is about him fouling out.

2:23 Sully throws a shoulder into Smotrzyzc while taking a shot. No call. Sullinger instigated it and Smotrizzc absorbed it into his sternum, which is now dented.

2:24 Another layup for Diebler. Eat it, America!

2:27 Buckeyes lead it at the half 31-27 as Diebler inexplicably misses a halfcourt shot. He probably would have made it if he was coming off of a screen though.

2:40 The Buckeyes have held the Wolverines to 37.0% shooting, and that's with their two best defenders, Craft and Lighty, playing very limited minutes. Good minutes from Sibert and Deshaun Thomas though, so that's helped. And a four-point lead while missing Craft and Lighty, and Sullinger shooting just 2-6 from the field is a pretty good place to be. Though Michigan will come out this half pretty fired up.

2:45 It took 20 seconds for David Lighty to pick up his third foul going for a loose ball rebound. Now he sits again for Deshaun Thomas. Lighty is less than happy, but these are good minutes for both Thomas and Lighty.

2:46 Sullinger misses another half-hook. If he would simply shoot the ball instead of trying to draw contact every time—especially since it's rarely called anymore—he would do much better from the field.

2:47 Thomas hits a three from the wing to give Ohio State the 34-27 lead. Here come six more shots in the next 42 seconds.

2:48 Sullinger misses another one, then grabs the offensive rebound and puts it back in. Michigan calls a timeout down by nine. Time to go check out the Michigan message boards because I'm running low on bear steroids.

2:51 Buford hits a pull-up jumper. If he gets going, then Michigan is in worse trouble than they already are. Like waiting “until your father comes home”, and then when he finally comes home, he's got your angry drunken grandfather with him as well.

2:56 Uh oh. Another nothing-but-netter for Buford. Buckeyes up 40-30.

2:57 Four points in a row in the paint for Darius Morris. The first was a travel, the second was a push off. Are you at all surprised?

2:58 Steal by Craft on Morris leads to a fastbreak three-pointer from Diebler in the corner. A masterpiece on both ends by The Kid. Buckeyes take the lead from five and make it eight.

3:06 Beautiful move by Hardaway on the finger roll to get it to 47-45 with 9:42 remaining. Thad Matta calls a timeout. He'll ask if the team wants to go home, and if they say yes, then he'll be cool with that and everybody can go home. He'll remind them, of course, that losing to Michigan isn't something that Buckeyes do, even if they want to. So if they want to go home, they're going to have to actually play worse than they already are.

3:08 Teddy Valentine is so demonstrative that if he knew sign language he would probably shout everything he said.

3:10 David. Freaking. Lighty. Sully misses the free throw and Lighty grabs the rebound and reverses it back in to give Ohio State a 52-45 lead. Amazingly athletic effort by The Old Man.

3:11 Jordan Morgan and Sullinger get tied up. Morgan won't let Sully's foot go as he's trying to walk away, then Morgan throws a forearm into Buford. Typical Michigan Man. He even attacks his own, Buford being a Toledo native, of course.

3:15 Dallas Lauderdale is in for Sullinger right now. It doesn't matter. Aaron Craft knocks down a three to give the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game, 55-45.

3:16 Steve Kerr: “That was awesome”, while talking about a possible fastbreak by the Buckeyes that leads to a Buford floater in secondary transition. When you're impressing a former NBA executive, that's pretty good stuff. Michigan calls a timeout. Buckeyes lead it 57-45.

3:18 Jordan Morgan avoids a dunk because Aaron Craft was standing under the basket, and misses a bunny. It leads to a William Buford layup, which leads to a Lauderdale block on Morris, which leads to a Morris foul, which leads to me finally taking a breath. Buckeyes lead it 59-45 with 5:40 to play.

3:21 Another Lauderdale block. Thad Matta knows what the heck he's doing by putting the eraser in the game.

3:22 If Thad wants, he can probably leave Sullinger on the bench the rest of the game. Buford hits another jumper. Buckeyes by 16 points. No need to bring Sully back in.

3:23 Ohio State is on a 16-0 run. Now a 16-3 run. Michigan calls timeout after Smotcrzezyczch hits a three. I love those timeouts. “Okay, now we're only down by 15 points. The plan is to play defense, and then good offense. Ready? Break!” Do you really need a timeout for that?

3:29 I should get back to paying attention to the game, but it's a 17-point lead with 2:25 to play. Michigan has quit, so why can't I?

3:30 Zack Novak hits a three with 1:36 remaining!!! (To make it 65-51.) Jon Bielein calls timeout!! As much as I hate refs, I'd be okay with giving them the authority to overrule timeouts in situations like this.

3:33 So the starters are coming back in for the Buckeyes. It's 65-53 with 1:15 remaining. I guess he just wants experienced free throw shooters?

3:35 Well, these seniors have now turned it over a couple of times. Michigan is down ten now. Matta is chuckling, possibly nervously so.

3:36 Good thing Michigan chose to start fighting after choosing to give up ten minutes ago. Novak hits a three with 33.5 remaining. They foul Craft with 30.0 remaining. Ohio State leads 65-58.

3:37 Craft misses both, and Michigan hits another three to cut it to four points with 17.6 remaining. Craft gets the ball up to Diebler who gets fouled on the layup attempt. He misses his first. Thad tells him to settle down. The second is good.

3:38 Smotcrirxzc misses a three to end the shenanigans. Lighty gets the rebound and gets fouled with 5.9 seconds remaining. Such hope dashed for the Wolverines, which, of course, means perfection, in my opinion. Stu Douglass misses a three at the buzzer. Buckeyes win 68-61, and will face the winner of Penn State and Michigan State in a truly meaningless game tomorrow afternoon.

3:40 Well, it's clear that Michigan had Ohio State's number again today. I didn't think they did, but then they made that run at the end and lost another close one. Michigan is 3-0 against Ohio State this year in moral victories, and they're ranked #1 in Moral RPI. Sagarin only has them #3 in his “This Close” ratings, though.

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