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Last updated: 03/13/2011 7:48 PM

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

The Buckeyes are the Big Ten Tournament champs after their 71-60 win over Penn State, earning the conference's automatic bid in the process. Once again, they did what they had to do. It wasn't always fancy, but despite what Turner's NBA broadcasters will tell you, you don't any get points for "fancy".

Who needs fancy in a conference tournament, anyway? A lot of people don't even like these things, and they think that winning them isn't important. While they're basically correct, once you're there, nobody wants to lose.

So the Buckeyes put their heads down, stifled yet another opponent, and got to cut some nets down for it.

But there's still two sets of nets yet to go, and those actually matter.\

3:07 I keep watching Gus Johnson's call from yesterday's PAC 10 Championship Game. The next time I get a chance to name something, be it a pet or intern or car, I'm gonna call it “Young Zeke”.

3:30 When Talor Battle struggles, he tries to shoot his way out of it. Like being stuck in a well and digging your way to China in order to get out.

3:31 Battle hits his first three-pointer of the game with a Jon Diebler hand in his face. A minute ago I was already talking about his struggles. I am s-m-r-t.

3:32 Nice move by Dallas Lauderdale, finishing with a left-handed half-hook. He's getting his points while he's in there.

3:33 It's definitely a Buckeye crowd today. It was a buyer's market for tickets.

3:34 William Buford drains a three-pointer. Always good to see...wow, Talor Battle just drilled another three-pointer. This one from deep and again with a hand in his face. Jon Diebler just one-upped Battle with a three from even deeper. I love watching one-uppers refuse to give in.

3:35 We've reached the first media timeout. It's up and down with the Buckeyes leading 8-6. This is not the pace Penn State played against Wisconsin.

3:39 Penn State sat on the ball on that last possession. The Buckeyes play defense too well to make it easy on them like that. There's no pressure on Ohio State to really defend.

3:40 There's Diebler's first drive of the game, and he'll be going to the line for two shots. Free points.

3:41 Aaron Craft is chasing Talor Battle around screens like the world's most serious game of Duck Duck Goose.

3:44 Nice spin move on the baseline for Jared Sullinger, but he got fouled before he could destroy somebody's will with a monstrous dunk. It's just not as easy to destroy wills at the free throw line. Nobody ever thinks, “Gosh, how am I ever going to live that free throw down?”

3:48 Aaron Craft pokes his first ball away from a lazy Nittany Lion. Stop paying attention to Craft at your own peril.

3:49 Turnover for Penn State and a William Buford floater brings an Ed DeChellis timeout. Buckeyes lead it 16-8. DeChellis doesn't want this getting out of hand before Battle has a chance to shoot the Nittany Lions out of the game.

3:53 Penn State isn't doubling Sullinger right now, and he's making them pay. They clearly were hoping he didn't have his hook shot today, but he does. The doubles will have to come soon.

3:59 Not much to talk about offensively right now. Deshaun Thomas just airballed a three. Diebler has missed a couple of threes. David Lighty is on the bench, or at least it seems like it. William Buford isn't really looking for his shot. Now Penn State has cut it to three points at 22-19 with 5:41 to play.

4:01 Seems like the Buckeyes are just waiting to get to the 10-minute mark of the second half so that they can go ahead and win it. The ironic part is that the selection committee won't even be watching at that point. It would have been better to come out blazing before the committee turned the television off at halftime.

4:07 David Lighty just charged when there was absolutely no reason to. He really misses football.

4:08 The Buckeyes have scored about zero points over the last five minutes. Roughly. Penn State hasn't done much better. They can't even grab the lead—they're still down by a point.

4:09 Huge rejection by Dallas Lauderdale leads to a Jon Diebler coast-to-coast layup in traffic. He is so much more confident around the rim than he ever used to be.

4:10 Aaron Craft just suffocated Talor Battle, forcing an impossible shot. He basically held a pillow over Battle's face, and while Battle was struggling, Craft just whispered in his ear, “Shh shh...it's okay...don't fight it...don't fight it...”

4:11 Another blocked shot by Lauderdale. Every minute has been a quality minute for Dallas in this tournament. He is making the most of his time.

4:12 Sullinger looks pretty tired. Fortunately the half is almost over.

4:13 The Buckeyes get the last possession of the half. Craft runs it up court and finds Diebler who dribbles around looking for a shot, and finally he just decides to 'rise and fire' at the top of the key and he drains the three at the buzzer. That's classic high school Diebler. Buckeyes lead it 29-23 at the half.

4:19 Charles Barkley takes time out to talk about slow and plodding Big Ten football spreading to Big Ten basketball. He and Kenny Smith think the Buckeyes should be able to impose their style of play on Penn State. That's fine. Sometimes you might not feel like playing fullcourt basketball three days in a row, though. There's apparently nothing to be said for beating an opponent at their own game? Superficial analysis from NBA analysts? Can you believe that?

4:25 The Buckeyes are shooting just 38.5% from the field so far. Fortunately, they're holding Penn State to 32.0%. I can see Ohio State going on a shooting run in the second half. I can't say the same for Penn State considering the way they're holding the ball for one shot. They're too easy to defend right now. But hey, they're only down six, so it's apparently working. As long as the Buckeyes don't start making shots, at least.

4:27 I don't need the stars of CBS sitcoms to tell me to watch March Madness. Especially considering they've never seen it in their lives. Have you ever seen an actor play basketball? It's like interpretive karaoke.

4:31 Diebler picks up right where he left off, draining a three. This one came from the baseline in transition and gives the Buckeyes a 32-23 lead.

4:32 David Lighty grabs his own miss and puts it back in. He's awesome at that, and still only the second-best on the team at doing so.

4:33 Penn State has two airballs in three shots in the first half. They've run the shot clock down and forced deep threes. Just continuing to alleviate pressure for the Buckeyes.

4:36 The game got to eleven points and Jim Nantz and Clark Kellogg immediately went to talk about the bracket and future seedings. I guess that means this game is over. Or meaningless.

4:41 Battle misses another three, and Buford comes down and hits one of his own. Buckeyes lead it 43-29.

4:42 Craft gets in on the party and hits a three as well. Penn State calls timeout. Buckeyes are starting to run away. Of course, they'll only get so far before Penn State cuts a 20-point lead to nine or so, but it won't matter. It'll just make the score look closer than it actually was.

4:45 O-H-I-O going around the arena right now. No “We Are...Penn State” to be heard yet. Perhaps nobody wants to announce their affiliation?

4:51 The Buckeyes miss two quick threes in a row before David Lighty drains one from the baseline. When you need a three drought to end, you call David Lighty. That name again is David Lighty.

4:53 William Buford starting to heat up, which is bad news for the Penn State Polar Ice Caps.

4:54 Another basket for Lauderdale, who just came in for Sullinger. I can't imagine there's another player in the country playing a higher percentage of quality minutes than he is during this tournament. Maybe Kemba Walker at UConn. We should get those two and put them in an alley so they can settle it once and for all.

4:58 Like clockwork, Penn State starts hitting threes like they're playing Whack-a-Mole. Buckeyes still lead by 13 points though.

5:03 Battle makes a three to cut it to ten points after a quick miss from Buford. Then he just turned it over on the inbounds pass. There's 4:51 to play. Fortunately, the selection committee isn't watching. Wait, no turnover yet. Buckeye ball. I wonder who will take the too-quick three this time!

5:04 Beautiful. The Buckeyes milk the clock and Sullinger finishes it with an and-one. Just too strong to be stopped by a feline. The free throw is good. Buckeyes lead it 60-47 with 4:16 remaining.

5:08 I love watching Aaron Craft knife to the basket, even when he doesn't finish—because Sully's usually there to clean it up. Much like Mike Conley and Greg Oden. How many times did Conley bounce a shot off of the back rim only to have Greg Oden slam it home?

5:10 Another layup for Diebler. Somebody should write a story about that.

5:13 Lighty lob to Sullinger, who pulled it down and then threw it down. Buckeyes lead it 68-54 with 1:10 to play. This game would end a lot sooner if Ohio State would stop fouling though.

5:16 Now Penn State won't stop fouling. Of course, it's just a ten-point game and Aaron Craft is going to the line, so I can't really blame them yet. There's still 37.2 remaining. He missed it.

5:19 That's the ballgame. William Buford says no to a breakaway dunk and the Buckeyes settle for a 71-60 win.

5:31 Awesome. Thad Matta just said that it matters to him that the Buckeyes get the overall #1 seed. We'll see if it matters after we see the bracket.

5:32 David Lighty just said “my last final year”. That's just one less joke everybody else gets to make about him.

5:34 Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith have watched three Ohio State games this season, and watched them win the Big Ten Tournament in the process, and still find it difficult to say anything good about them. Great expert analysis you've got there, CBS. Steve Kerr and Reggie Miller are much better. They do actual homework.

5:35 Enough about talking heads. I've got another banner to go hang. Somebody go fetch me my step ladder.


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