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Last updated: 02/16/2011 2:20 AM

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Men's Basketball
The Buckeye Watch
By Tony Gerdeman

Nothing is ever easy when the world is against you.  That's probably what Tom Izzo feels like right now.  Now imagine the world being against and the Buckeyes being against you.  Those are not good odds.

The Spartans hung on for as long as they could, answering each Buckeye attempt at a lead with a crucial basket...for about 30 minutes.  Then each successive answer by Michigan State was by a basket or two fewer than the previous one. 

Ohio State was able to build a five-point lead with under ten minutes to play, and only let it dip under five points for a total of 18 seconds.

The way the Spartans got outplayed in the final ten minutes, it almost looked like they were tired.  But that can't be true because they play more than seven players. 

It should be noted that I think fatigue as an excuse is bunk about 90% of the time, for what it's worth.  The other 10% of the time, however, is basically just me complaining about how I don't get enough sleep, and that 10% of the time is 100% real.

8:28 Spartan forward Delvon Roe is a gametime decision per Andy Katz. I wonder if that means Tom Izzo will actually use a timeout before the game even begins. Pretty likely imo. Dude uses timeouts like grandma's use the furnace. Television timeouts are his shawl.

8:47 The game is officially a sellout. That means the blue hairs will have to keep their on-going knitted blankets in their laps and not in the seat next to them. (Is that two shots at older folks in the first twenty minutes? Might set a record tonight.)

8:50 Jon Diebler needs just four three-pointers to set the all-time Big Ten record for three-pointers made, which is owned by, surprisingly, not a Crispin.

8:54 I sure hope we can go at least one game without Jared Sullinger lying about being spit on!

8:56 Word is that Roe is not moving well and doesn't look like he's going to play tonight. At the very least, he's definitely not starting. Guess somebody else will have to be constantly non-productive other than him tonight.

9:00 They just announced that the tip has been moved back to 9:10 because we're stuck watching SEC basketball. “I'm sorry, your steak dinner has been delayed while you eat those shelled peanuts.” “But I'm only eating them because they're on my table and I'm hungry!” “You'll eat those peanuts until the last one is gone!” “Yes'm.”

9:02 I feel like I'm on death row and the in-death movie is anything by Tyler Perry.

9:06 ESPN just showed Dick Vitale conducting TBDBITL. He is the Jackson Pollack of conductors.

9:10 Well, it's 9:10 and the game has tipped off. We're getting a split screen...welp, not anymore. Now we're just getting this idiotic SEC game which has no bearing on anything. Thank you ESPN for shoving the SEC in our face like the school secretary and her perfume.

9:12 The Buckeyes lead it 4-2. Who cares how it happened. Dick Vitale is talking. Summers picked up two fouls already though, so that's pretty cool.

9:14 Jared Sullinger gets called for his first offensive foul for the hook. Decent call because of the velocity he brought with it. Sullinger hates his opponents' kidneys.

9:19 Interesting. Jared Sullinger is on the bench. Aaron Craft comes in.

9:20 Adreian Payne is all knees and elbows. I bet he just oozes bursitis.

9:23 Referee Jim Burr is mic'd up tonight. I bet if Teddy Valentine was mic'd, he'd talk in the third person all game. “Teddy Valentine has the ball right here.” “Teddy Valentine saw the charge.”

9:25 Drive and dunk by William Buford to make it 12-9 early on. The crowd is now getting into the game. And they sit back down after Derrick Nix discards Jared Sullinger and dunks it home. Michigan State's size is bothering Jared Sullinger on both ends right now.

9:29 Three-pointer from the baseline for William Buford. He has 11 of the Buckeyes' 15 points. He wasn't exactly open on that shot, but apparently that matters not tonight. Buckeyes lead it 15-13.

9:31 Jared Sullinger is getting worked on the defensive end right now. Though he just returned the favor on the other end with a little turnaround half-hook. Soft touch as always.

9:32 Deshaun Thomas is coming in. The air raid sirens are going off. Children everywhere are ducking and covering.

9:35 Jared Sullinger just picked up his second foul for keeping his arms raised on defense. If they called it that way on the other end, he'd foul half of the other team out. This is going to be an interesting game tonight.

9:39 The Buckeyes have rimmed two or three shots out already. Good thing Michigan State is getting these rims in the second half.

9:41 Not sure what's up with the basketball. Buford and Diebler have both lost handles. And now Deshaun Thomas. Are they playing with the women's basketball?

9:43 The one-on-one post defense has been atrocious for the Buckeyes tonight.

9:45 The screens are by Mayflower for the Spartans.

9:46 Jon Diebler hits his first three-pointer of the game, and a tremendous time to do it, tying the game 30-30. But Michigan State answers with another freaking layup. They've got 32 points tonight and 47 of them have come in the paint.

9:52 Diebler had too much time and misses an open three. William Buford doesn't have enough time and drains one. That's just Willy Bu being Willy Bu. Buckeyes lead it 35-34.

9:54 We finally make it to the half. Michigan State shoots 63% from the field, but it's still not enough to give the Spartans the lead. Buckeyes go to the locker room leading 35-34. Oh goody, a Jill Montgomery halftime interview. Is there anything you have no interest in knowing? Get ready for that subject to be asked about. “Coach, what about the lacquer on this court?”

9:59 I'm having deja vu right now. If I recall correctly, this game ends up in about a six-point victory for the Buckeyes. Sorry for the spoiler.

10:02 Derrick Nix and Adreian Payne have combined for 15 points off of the bench and are 6-7 from the field. The defense has to improve or else the Buckeyes are never going to be able to build a significant lead.

10:08 It's nice when William Buford is making shots, however, it seems to me that when he's making them, he also starts forcing them. Also, David Lighty is 0-2 from the three-point line, but 2-3 from every single other place on the court. He should focus his offensive attention there.

10:12 Game on. Let's get some runs!

10:13 Aaron Craft just picked Kalin Lucas' pocket—actually, he took the whole pocket—and he flips it to Buford for another layup. Buckeyes back up by one point.

10:17 David Lighty finally hits a three! I love it when people don't listen to me. Ultimately, that's the key to success. Buckeyes by two.

10:21 Lighty is for serious right now. Just made a very strong baseline move for the and-one. The free throw is good. Buckeyes lead it 45-44 with 14:42 left.

10:25 Aaron Craft with another steal, but he gets his layup blocked. Diebler is there to get the rebound and he gets hammered. He'll shoot two. The first is good. The Buckeyes lead by four, which is their largest lead since like ever. The second is good as well. Buckeyes lead 49-44 with 13:05 to play.

10:27 Very deep three from the top of the key by Diebler gives the Buckeyes a six-point lead. The crowd is standing, some begrudgingly. The Spartans come down the court and turn it over again. Ohio State needs to capitalize on the freebie.

10:32 Of course, Draymond Green hits a bailout three-pointer. Cuts the lead to three points. Why do good things happen to bad people?

10:33 The Buckeyes have no idea how to guard the pick and roll, the pick or roll, the roll, the pick, or even the or.

10:34 Buford for an open three. Drains it. Gets the Buckeyes back up by five with under nine minutes to play, followed by the 17th moving screen of the game, but just the second or third one that is called.

10:35 Buford again coming off the screen drains an 18-footer. Buckeyes lead it 58-51. Tom Izzo calls a timeout. Not a surprise. That's the biggest lead of the night for Ohio State. Can't give it back.

10:39 Jared Sullinger is on the bench right now. Dallas Lauderdale is in for him. Clearly, this is an offense/defense switch because Matta needs some offense right now. (One-time zing!)

10:44 Aaron Freaking Craft! He just ran down an errant pass that everybody else was just letting go, he laid it up and in and got fouled. and now he's shooting for the three-point play. What an amazing play. He hits the free throw to give Ohio State their largest lead of the game, 61-53 with 5:45 to play.

10:47 Craft just went slip and side after a loose ball. He missed it, but had a helluva ride.

10:50 “I can't see it enough to give you an intelligent answer.” The motto of the referee.

10:54 Aaron Craft just stole the ball from Keith Appling. We should start calling him the Repo Man. Now he just picked up a foul driving around Draymond Green, who then picks up a technical foul because he's bigger than the game. Buckeyes up by seven points, going to the line for two, and then two more. Craft makes the first. There's 1:42 to play. The second rims out. Craft will now shoot two more. Apparently the Buckeyes thought the technicals were going to happen second. Craft makes the third and fourth. Buckeyes lead it 69-59 with 1:42 to play.


11:01 That's the ball game. The Buckeyes close it out 71-61, giving up a basket at the buzzer that may have cost Ohio State the cover. The gamblers won't be happy about this, especially considering Jon Diebler got hammered shooting a three at the end of the shot clock there. Oh well. I doubt Thad minds. Neither do I.

11:06 Any win over Sparty is a good one. The best ones, however, are when Tom Izzo goes home with multiple timeouts. Enjoy the extra luggage, Coach.

11:07 Up next for the Buckeyes is a long, slow, sceneless drive to West Lafayette this weekend. The conversation will consist of how flat the land is and how very typical Indianans are. I'm not sure anybody's looking forward to it.

 

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