Pregame Glance: Northwestern Part II

Written February 28th, 2012 by Eric

Bill Carmody's default look on Selection Sunday.

The Northwestern Wildcats are playing host to the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday evening for the second to last game of the regular season. Bill Carmody’s team is standing at 17-11 for the season, and 7-9 in the Big Ten – good for 7th overall in conference. Over their last six meetings the Buckeyes lead 5-1, including an overtime battle in the Big Ten tournament last year. The last Northwestern victory occurred in Evanston on February 18th, 2009 by a score of 72-69.

Northwestern has never made the NCAA tournament in the history of their program. During the 2009-2010 campaign, the Wildcats put together a 20 win season that should have been enough to earn them their first bid. Surprisingly, they were denied entry and relegated to the NIT for the second year running. They again missed the tournament last season with a slightly less impressive 18 win season, but they were at least in the conversation.

The Wildcats find themselves in the conversation again this year. Sitting at 17 wins with two games left on the schedule, there is an outside chance that the ‘Cats could play their way into the tournament. Not surprisingly, many in the Big Ten find themselves rooting for Northwestern to make it into the field of 68 – though, of course, not at the expense of their own teams.

A lot of their recent success, and the reason that they’re consistently making post-season play, has to do with how Bill Carmody has them playing in Evanston. The Wildcats have been an incredibly difficult team to beat at home during the last few seasons, making Welsh-Ryan Arena a surprising intimidating building. You may recall last season when the Buckeyes, in their only meeting with Northwestern, escaped with a 58-57 victory after Northwestern missed a desperation half-court heave at the buzzer. That trend has continued into this season as a number of teams will attest.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Wisconsin Part II

Written February 26th, 2012 by Eric

It’s Senior Night in Columbus!  The Bucks are facing the Wisconsin Badgers in what will be William Buford’s last home game of his college career! The game tips at 4:00 PM EST on CBS.  Hopefully we get Clark Kellogg…

Keep your eyes open on this game – the #Hop2TheRafters shirts should make a reappearance.  The University may have responded, but that doesn’t mean the campaign is over!  It’s not over until Hop (and, now, all of the legendary Buckeye Shooty Hoopers) get recognized!

While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 3:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Pregame Glance: Wisconsin II

Written February 25th, 2012 by Eric

Bo Ryan can't resist watching the train-wreck the end of this season has become.

The Badgers are visiting Columbus tomorrow for the Buckeye’s last home game of the season and are looking for a measure of revenge. The Badgers lost to the Buckeyes on February 4th in the Kohl Center 58-52, and would like nothing more than to pay the Buckeyes back. With Ohio State’s recent struggles, both at home and on the road, the Badgers likely feel good about their chances to pull the upset – but they have to escape their own history first.

The Badgers started out their Big Ten season in ugly fashion. After a win over Nebraska, Bucky discovered themselves on a three game losing skid starting with a bad loss at home to a mid-level Iowa team. But the ship righted itself, allowing the Badgers to win six straight games heading into the beginning of February and the first matchup with the Buckeyes.

After the Bucks escaped the Kohl Center with their first win since 2000, Wisconsin has only been able to break even. The Badgers first visited rival Minnesota and walked away with a tough 68-61 overtime victory. Unfortunately, they had to follow that difficult game with a battle against Michigan State in East Lansing – a battle that saw the Spartans defeat the Badgers by 14.

Since that game in East Lansing the Badgers have split games against Penn State (65-55 W), and at Iowa (67-66 L), leaving Wisconsin at 9-6 overall in the Big Ten. Amazingly, a 9-6 record at this point in the season is good enough for fourth place in the conference. That puts the Badgers two games back behind Michigan and Ohio State (who are tied for second), and a game ahead of fifth place Indiana at 8-7.
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Ohio State Defeats Illinois 83-67

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

The student section was rocking the #Hop2theRafters t-shirts.

Coming off their fifth loss of the season, the Buckeyes looked to bounce back at home against the struggling Fighting Illini. Unfortunately for Illinois, they simply did not have the horses to keep up with the intense Ohio State attack, and fell 83-67 in Columbus. Meyers Leonard of Illinois led all scorers with 21 points, while Deshaun Thomas led the Buckeyes with 19. William Buford and Aaron Craft rounded out the OSU double digit scorers with 17 and 11 respectively – a solid game from the Buckeye’s leaders.

The Buckeye Nuthouse was proudly sporting shirts that read “Retire #32″ tonight. The shirts were in honor of Dennis Hopson and his excellent career for the Scarlet and Gray in the mid-80′s. To see the students supporting OSU history so enthusiastically was amazing, and I’m proud of the passion that they have shown for Hopson.

The Buckeyes came out of the gate very determined to earn the win tonight. The team played with amazing energy and intensity from the outset. Their passes were sharp and crisp, and placed where only the intended recipient could recieve it. Even better, the Buckeyes were finding open shooters and making great shot selection. The best was William Buford’s shot fake from above the charity stripe that turned into a pass to an open Aaron Craft for three, putting Illinois down by double digits and forcing Bruce Weber into an early timeout.

Thad Matta mixed up the bench rotations in a big way. Instead of having Shannon Scott come in solely for Aaron Craft as we have seen all season long, Scott came in and played the two for Lenzelle Smith. That allowed the Buckeyes to have a pair of good ball control point guards in the game. We also saw Sam Thompson come into the game for Buford early and get quality playing time, including an amazing one handed tomahawk ally-oop from the aforementioned Scott.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Illinois Part 2

Written February 21st, 2012 by Eric

Happy Mardi Gras! The Bucks are back in Columbus for their rematch with the Fighting Illini! The game tips at 7:00 PM EST on ESPN.

Keep your eyes open on this game. Our own WVaBuckeye put together a set of shirts for the Nuthouse to help promote the #Hop2TheRafters cause

While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 6:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Michigan Upsets Ohio State in Ann Arbor 56-51

Written February 18th, 2012 by Eric

DeShaun Thomas kept the Buckeyes close in a tough scrum with the Wolverines.

The Wolverines welcomed the Buckeyes into the Crisler center this weekend, and sent the Buckeyes packing with their fifth loss of the season by a score of 56-51. The Buckeyes struggled shooting the whole night but had several chances to tie it up late in the second. Unfortunately, Michigan did just enough to keep Ohio State from ever gaining the lead. DeShaun Thomas had a huge game for the Buckeyes picking up a double double by scoring 25 points on 8-13 shooting, including 3-6 from three, and grabbing 13 rebounds. Trey Burke lead the Wolverines with 17 points and 5 assists for the game.

The Michigan defense came to play early in this one. Ohio State’s offense needed several trips before they finally found their first bucket from the left elbow from DeShaun Thomas – a shot he repeated on the subsequent trip down. The Wolverines weren’t going to let such a golden opportunity escape them, putting down 8 points before the first TV timeout and getting the crowd into the game in a big way.

The offensive explosion from the guys in maize was particularly impressive as they spread the scoring out evenly amongst the starters. Trey Burke had a nice dribble drive with several spin moves to get a good close range shot, while Tim Hardaway had an excellent 18 footer from the left wing. Morgan and Novak also hit a couple easy baskets to help out the run.

Hardaway came to play in this one and dropped several big shots from the outside. Having disappeared for several straight games, his presence was much needed for this Michigan team to have success. With his shots falling from the outside, especially with Buford going cold for most of the night, it was a very bad sign for the Bucks on the road.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Michigan II

Written February 18th, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes are in the AA this evening for their second shooty hoops battle with the Michigan Wolverines! The game tips at 9:00 PM EST on ESPN.

While you wait, go checkout our friends in the Buckeye Bloggers Network! the Buckeye Blog, OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, and Men of the Scarlet and Gray. Fox Sports Ohio also joins us as usual. The liveblog will kickoff at 8:30 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

Pregame Glance: Michigan Part II

Written February 17th, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes, having recovered from their loss to the little brothers with a solid win over the Golden Gophers, now have to travel to Ann Arbor to face the plucky Wolverines for the second time this season.

John Beilein and the Maize Rage are looking to make Crisler a challenge for the Buckeyes.

Michigan, currently ranked #17 in the AP Poll, has absolutely earned that ranking the last couple of weeks. While they are only 3-2 through their last five games, their two losses have come at Ohio State (64-49) and at Michigan State (64-54). In turn, they’ve picked up impressive wins against #20 Indiana, and Illinois, and also picked up a nice (but not necessarily quality) win at Nebraska.

Michigan’s sophomores struggled at times during the slump. Tim Hardaway Jr. (6-6, 200) in particular struggled to hit his shot in their games against Michigan State and Nebraska, scoring a combined 10 points in those outings. For reference, recall that he scored 15 against the Buckeyes in a general rout. Hardaway is an important cog in the Wolverine’s offense, so it was critical to their postseason outlook that he managed to emerge against Illinois this week and score 15.
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