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.
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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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