Five Things We Learned

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Last updated: 03/09/2014 10:46 PM
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Men's Basketball
Five Things We Learned in a Regular-season Ending W
in over Michigan State
By John Porentas

1) Sometime the Basketball gods send you really good games on senior day. This was not just an exciting win, it was a really good basketball game even if you didn't have a rooting interest. Both teams made runs and both teams made plays at a very high level. Then you throw in the absolutely incredible sports theater of the way the Buckeyes closed out the win behind the defensive plays of Craft that were a microcosm of his career and you have really memorable night. Thank you basketball gods.

2) The Buckeyes still need to find that consistent scorer to go along with Ross and Smith. MSU controlled the game until Shannon Scott came alive, then the tide turned. Scott did it on both ends of the floor, but it was when he finally found some offense that the game really began to turn. If OSU is going to do anything during tournament season they have to get offense from either Scott or Sam Thompson. If either one of those guys delivers some offense the Buckeyes can beat anyone. If they both bring some offense they are actually tough to beat. March is a new beginning. If one or both of them can be more offensive-minded the Buckeye could make a run.

3) This was one of the wildest Big Ten regular-season campaigns in memory. The last place finisher in the league, Purdue, had five wins. That's unheard of. The bottom six teams in the league combined for 38 wins. That's also unheard of. The team that was the preseason pick to finish last, Nebraska, finished fourth with an 11-7 league record including a win tonight over 9th-ranked Wisconsin. What's next? I don't know, but I wouldn't miss too many games of the Big Ten tournament if I were you. The way things have gone, it would be more surprising if the one seed won it than if they didn't.

4) If the Buckeyes have one fatal flaw this year, it's their post play, or lack of it. Sure, the shooting isn't great, but I can't help but think that part of the shooting woes is that team have little regard for OSU's post players so they can focus on the Buckeye wings and guards. The OSU post does not provide much offense, does not guard particularly well, and is weak rebounding. It also produced too many turnovers. Other than that, it's pretty good. There isn't much hope that the post will suddenly be better this season.

5) This was a good win, but this is not the greatest MSU team of recent years. There has been a lot of talk about MSU as perhaps a final four team, but I don't think so. Head Coach Tom Izzo was very critical of his team's toughness following the loss, and it's hard to argue with him. As much as we'd all like to think the final outcome was the product of a gritty performance by the Buckeyes, and there's no doubt that they were, the Spartans had their own hand in the outcome, and their contribution was to wilt at crunch time. Sure the Buckeyes put the heat on defensively that helped them to wilt, but the great MSU teams of the past could handle that pressure and finish. This MSU team is talented, but seems to lack something in the way of knowing how to win in tough situations.

 

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