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Last updated: 02/12/2011 6:04 PM

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Basketball
Buckeye Watch - Wisconsin
By Tony Gerdeman

The Buckeyes finally lose.  Oh well.  It was fun while it lasted.  Heck, it was even fun while it was happening. 

There was some improbable basketball going on in the second half of this game, starting with Ohio State's improbable 15-point lead, and finishing with Wisconsin's improbable comeback.

Yet it all led to something that was entirely probable--a Wisconsin victory. 

Two wrongs may not make a right, but two improbabilities evidently make a probability.

But don't get too down on Ohio State.  A loss has a way of focusing a team that isn't used to losing.  Expect this to be the case for the Buckeyes.  Somebody finally make them bleed their own blood, and they're not going to be happy about it.

Don't expect the Badgers to take a 15-point lead when they come to Columbus later in the season, and don't expect any rushing of the court.  Beating Wisconsin is an annual occurrence.  Like the harvest.

And nobody rushes the court because of the harvest.

12:53  The Big Ten Network is showing the Wisconsin game from 2007.  They are sufficiently building and reaffirming my Badger hate.  Lousy weasels.  The badger is also known as “the coward of the forest”.  You probably didn't even know that, did you?  Maybe you should read a book some time.

1:00  The last nine ranked teams to come into the Kohl Center have lost.  Frankly, I'll be very surprised if that streak ends today.  Though I am admittedly getting more confident in Ohio State's chances as the game draws closer.  Still, I have zero faith in officials to let a game be decided solely by basketball and talent.  I'm not saying there's bias, I'm just saying there's inadequacy.

1:58  Everybody on ESPN's Gameday show apparently picked the Badgers.  On the Big Ten Network show, only one of the four analysts—the national writer, picked Wisconsin.  Is the Big Ten Network smarter than ESPN?  I guess this game will decide it.

2:07  Dick Vitale is in the house.  Twenty years ago I would have killed for this.  Now I may actually kill because of this.


2:09  Game on.  David Lighty is wearing some tape on his left wrist.  I don't know what that means.  I mean, I know what it normally means, I just don't know what it means in terms of Lighty specifically.

2:11  Both teams are just feeling eachother out right now.  Like a fight between rival chess players.  Each of them trying to inch closer to the scorekeeping clock thingy in order to throw it at the opponent and then run away screaming for security.

2:12  One of the more frustrating aspects of Dick Vitale doing a game is that his microphone is down so low, you have to struggle to listen to him.  Why should I have to struggle to listen to somebody I'm not really interested in listening to?  This is ESPN in a nutshell.  They give me what I don't want, and then somehow make me want it.  It's reverse psychology.

2:14  There's Jordan Taylor's first three-pointer of the game.  Badgers lead 8-4 after four minutes.  Buckeyes need to withstand the first twelve minutes, and then the rest of the clock will sort of melt into itself.

2:15  William Buford has forced three shots in a row, and only made one.  The ball needs to move around.  He just forced his fourth in a row, but made a five footer.  Badgers lead it 10-6.

2:20  Jared Sullinger gets the ball down low for the first time and the Badgers don't send a double team.  He scores.  The double will come next time.

2:22  Aaron Craft just stoned Jordan Taylor on an entire possession.  Wouldn't let him get the ball for most of the possession, then Taylor forces an airball three at the end of the shot clock.  Craft 1 - Taylor 0.

2:26  Buckeyes just aren't as patient as the Badgers are right now.  But then for Wisconsin, shooting the ball is almost an admission of weakness.

2:27  Sullinger makes his first two free throws to cut Wisconsin's lead to 12-11.  That extra work for Jared has paid off apparently.

2:28  Jordan Taylor finally draws a foul at the end of the shot clock on Craft.  But at least the freshman got his money's worth on that hack, coming down on Taylor like a hammer.  He missed his first free throw, so maybe he was still feeling it a bit.

2:31  Craft forces a travel on Taylor one possession after forcing another airball at the end of the shot clock.  The world's known superlatives are inadequate for Craft at the moment.

2:33  We've essentially seen two different games since Craft came in the game.  I think Wisconsin has one field goal in that stretch.  Now they need to capitalize on offense.

2:37  There's a shot clock issue right now.  The officials are over at the scorer's desk.  I'm sure they'll get this fixed.  Like Keystone Kops examining a crime scene.  "This boot print in the blood looks just like my boot print!  Oooh, gross.  How did this blood get on my boot?  Is my foot bleeding?!?"

2:38  Badgers lead it 19-15 with 5:40 to play in the half.  Perfect tempo for the Badgers.  Like halfcourt basketball at the YMCA.

2:39  A block and a steal and layup on consecutive plays for David Lighty.  The winningest player in the history of the Big Ten.  He's got about 80 more wins than Red Grange, for what it's worth.

2:40  The Badgers have hit their last three three-pointers.  Time to extend the defense a little bit.  Wisconsin is up by five.

2:43  It's time for the three-point game to show up for Ohio State.  Jon Diebler, come out and play-ay.

2:44  William Buford is starting to heat up.  Two straight baskets out of the timeout.  Keep taking good shots, and don't start forcing heat checks.

2:46  Nice.  Sullinger just got hit in the head, no call.  He gets a bit of a hip into a flopper, and it gets called.  Now Sullinger may have just been forced to flop himself in order to get a call.  If the refs aren't going to call the real stuff, then just make it up as you go. 

2:48  Buford ties the game at 26-26 with a three pointer with a minute to play in the half.  Been up and down a bit for him this half, but mostly up.  However, they have nobody that can stay with him, so if he can keep getting looks, he may as well keep taking them.  As long as he's making them, of course.

2:49  Badgers turn it over and the Buckeyes get the last possession of the half.  They'll have 34.0 seconds to work with.

2:50  The Buckeyes run the weave for 28 seconds before David Lighty drives the lane, scoops and scores to give Ohio State the lead at the end of their half.  It's their first lead of the half.  28-26 Buckeyes.

2:51  Bo Ryan says the Buckeyes are fouling his ball-handlers and they need those to start getting called in the second half.  Goats also think sharks should be a little bit more choosy in what they eat.

3:01  There has only been one offensive rebound in this game.  That's some pretty good boxing out from two disciplined, well-coached teams.

3:02  So far only William Buford has attempted a three-pointer.  I would not be surprised to see some plays designed for Jon Diebler early on.

3:05  Might be one of those games where Aaron Craft starts the second half.  Dallas Lauderdale may not get too many minutes today.  It's not a good matchup with him chasing the Badger bigs.

3:07  Game on.  Badgers open it with a made jumper early in the shot clock.  What's going on?  Craft is starting, by the way.

3:08  Diebler just went right to the basket and hit a fader in the paint.  Seems like anybody in a scarlet jersey can get into the paint.  They just need to finish.

3:10  Oh my!  Aaron Craft flew by his man on the baseline and dropped it to Sullinger who got undercut and made the basket!  What?  They're calling a jump ball?  After looking at the replay there were indeed two hands on the ball, but by that measure, every time there are two hands on a ball, it should be a jump ball, and that's simply not the case.  Still Buckeye ball.  No matter, William Buford just hit a three pointer on the out of bounds play.  Ohio State leads 34-28, their biggest lead of the game.  Thanks for the call, Blue.

3:11  Buford is making it rain.  Just drained another fade away over yet another Badger.  Timeout Bo Ryan.  Buckeyes by eight.

3:15  Craft goes right by Jordan Taylor, and Taylor is forced to foul.  Do that a few more times, please. 

3:16  Another basket on an inbounds play by Buford, and now a dunk in transition by Buford.  The Kohl Center is Willy Bu's world, and we're all just eating sausages and cheeses in it.  Buckeyes lead it 40-30 with 15:40 to play.

3:17  Jordan Taylor is getting rented out by Aaron Craft.  And Craft doesn't care what condition Taylor is returned in.

3:20  ESPN says the Buckeyes have hit their last nine shots, right at the exact moment they finally miss one. 

3:21  No worries!  Jon Diebler just hit his first three of the game, giving the Buckeyes the 45-32 lead with 13:40 to play.  This is really quite unbelievable.

3:22  Alley-oop to Sullinger for a 15-point lead.  I don't even know how to process this.  I'm waiting for the Badger run to happen.  Like waiting for your parents to get home after you break the picture window.

3:23  Gotta love Dick Vitale.  Says the Buckeyes are the best team he's seen this year, but he's only getting to see them when they're playing well.  This is code for, "I'd like to see them against Duke".

3:24  Jordan Taylor hits a three to cut it to ten points.  Time to surgically reattach Craft to him.

3:25  Another three for Taylor because Craft went under the screen.  Can't do that against him.  He was setting that one up at the outset.  Buckeyes down to 47-40 now.

3:27  Media timeout with 10:54 to play.  The Badgers are down seven and will be going to the line for two.  The fans are acting like they're the ones up seven.  Somebody on Ohio State is going to have to do some quieting, and it doesn't have to happen on offense.

3:29  Why did I have to say anything bad about Jordan Taylor?

3:30  Taylor gets two more on David Lighty.  Down to a three-point game.  Wisconsin is on a 12-0 run in the span of about seven seconds.

3:31  Uh oh.  The last two shots for the Buckeyes have gone in and out.  The basket is rigged, and Josh Gasser just tied the game at 47-47 and this crowd is going crazy.

3:31  Craft shuts them up with an 18-footer.  For almost an entire second. 

3:32  Raggedy Andy just grabbed an offensive rebound and lays it in to tie the game back up for the Badgers.

3:33  Craft with another jumper!  What a veteran freshman.  Buckeyes back up 51-49.  Steal by Lighty, and he gets fouled on the breakaway.  Timeout with 7:41 remaining in the game.  There was no way this was going to be a blowout.  It just wasn't possible.

3:35  During this timeout Thad Matta is telling his team that the rest of this game is going through Jared Sullinger, and if it doesn't, somebody is getting their throat punched.

3:37  Lighty makes his first free throw.  That's good news.  He makes the second.  That's great news.  Back up by four.

3:38  Taylor with another three.  Not sure what Craft was looking at there, he just let him go around the screen and watched him shoot.

3:39  Raggedy Andy ties it up again with a raggedy three.  55-55 with 6:35 to play.

3:40  Keaton Nankivil gives Wisconsin the lead with a three of his own.  Jared Sullinger isn't even getting looked at.  That three is now a two, by the way.

3:40  They finally go to him and he gets hit, no call.  No basket. 

3:40  Unbelievable.  Another three for Taylor.  Wisconsin is up by five points.  He hasn't even hit the rim this half.  60-55 with 5:24 remaining.  Timeout Buckeyes.

3:41  Thad has to be getting after these refs.  Sullinger can't get a shot off because he can't extend his arms because there are people on top of him.  That's illegal if you look at the rule book.

3:42  Turnover Buckeyes.  Ball game. 

3:43  I know this isn't going to end well, but I'm looking forward to seeing how the Buckeyes handle this final four minutes. 

3:45  Nobody defending the three and now nobody boxing out.  The time has come.

3:47  54-49 with 2:45 remaining.  Certainly not insurmountable, but am I crazy for thinking there might be a sense of relief going on with a loss.  The lead in the conference is still quite comfortable, and now they can just worry about pounding each opponent instead of winning for the umpteenth time in a row.  Plus, now they can play angry.  It's hard to be angry when you're 30-0.

3:49  The Badgers have done an incredible job of keeping the ball away from Jared Sullinger, and when he does get it, he assumes he can get fouled if he shoots it.  He's been assuming wrong today.  His assumptions would normally be correct, however.  Of course, 80% of all fouls committed against Sullinger are of his own doing.

3:54  Jon Diebler misses a three, but Sullinger gets the rebound.  Puts it up, misses and gets fouled.  Same contact there always is.  Badgers lead 65-61.  Buckeyes need both free throws.  The first is good.  59.4 remaining.  The second free throw falls.  Buckeyes down two. 

3:55  Clock winding down.  Raggedy Andy hits a wide open three-pointer, and then Craft turns it over unforced.  24.3 to play.  It's over.  When Raggedy Andy beats you, you know you've been beaten.

3:58  The "over-rated" chant is alive and well in the land of whine and cheese.  Hey, Sullinger just hit a three-pointer with 3.0 left to cut the lead to three points.

4:01  Game over.  Badgers win 71-67 and the crowd rushes the floor.  They hoist Jon Leuer up on their shoulders.  Pretty cool scene.  Good for them. 

4:03  According to Jill Montgomery, Bo Ryan was a sophomore in high school the last time he beat the #1 team in the nation.  That seems like a lie to me.

4:09  Anyway, the inevitable happened and now we move on.  They'll get another shot at the Badgers later in the season, and they'll likely get a double-digit win.  But nobody will remember that game. 

4:10  The best part about this loss is that Michigan State is going to be running into a very angry Buckeye team.  Which is always nice.

4:11  Come get your whoopin', Izzo.

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