B1G Tournament: Day 1 Preview

Written March 7th, 2012 by Eric

This is still up for grabs, for whomever can take it.

Welcome to March.

Are you ready? Ready for tournament time?

The coaches are. Some of the coaches don’t usually care about the Big Ten Tournament – particularly Tom Izzo. The tournament rarely changes anything heading into the NCAA tournament, and the Regular Season Championship is considered more precious. But Tom Izzo seemingly changed his mind this season after being forced to share the regular season title with the Buckeyes and Wolverines,

We’re going to go win our championship back.

He’s ready for March. Are you?

You’d better be. This Big Ten Tournament promises to be one of the best yet. The field is deep with teams that want to win. Consider Northwestern, who has never been to the NCAA’s, and Minnesota, who would like to prove what they can do as a young team missing a key player. How about Purdue, with Robbie Hummel’s last go around. And that’s not even including Ohio State, Michigan State, and Michigan who would all love to be able to hold the tournament championship over their co-regular season title holders.

Just to name a few.

JoeD, WVaBuckeye, Dave, and I put our heads together and shared some of our thoughts on the Thursday matchups to get you ready for the first day of action.
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Buckeye Basketball Breakdown: Northwestern

Written March 2nd, 2012 by Eric

The Buckeyes managed to beat the Cats with a timely shot from Sully in the paint.

After the Northwestern game concluded, there was one inescapable thought in my mind – this was a very good win for us. I saw it echoed among several other sportswriters on twitter, but ultimately saw a lot more negativity from the fans.

Why did we play so poorly against a team as bad as Northwestern?

Well, first off, Northwestern is not a bad team. As I pointed out in my preview of the game, this team often makes visiting opponents look, and play, stupid. It did not come as a surprise to me that they made us fight for every minute of the game clock. That’s what these guys do at home.

Northwestern, as you may have heard at some point, is also in the Big Ten. The Big Ten this year is one of the single toughest conferences out there. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that we’re going to have a tough time on the road against a conference opponent. To be honest, we’ve been struggling on the road against opponents all season long – there’s no reason Northwestern was going to be any different, even if we did kill them in Columbus. Home court advantage is a significant factor in college basketball, after all.

Given some of the thoughts drifting around Buckeye Nation, here’s a list of some of the big things I took away from the Northwestern win. They’re not all positive, but they all generally show a positive trend in this team.
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Buckeyes Evade Wildcats 75-73 in Evanston

Written February 29th, 2012 by Eric

Craft's offense showed up today to help out against a fiesty Northwestern team.

The Northwestern Wildcats played host this evening for a battle with the Ohio State Buckeyes, and gave the Buckeyes everything they could handle and some. Jared Sullinger put down the last second layup off an excellent Aaron Craft pass to win the game. Sullinger finished the game with another double double with 22 points and 18 rebounds, more in line with what he is capable of doing every night. DeShaun Thomas also secured a double double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Craft scored 14, and Lenzelle Smith put down 12. Drew Crawford of Northwestern led all scorers with 23 points, closely followed by John Shurna’s 22.

Despite discussions about the possibility of starting lineup changes to try to kick-start the Buckeyes better, Ohio State came out with their standard opening five. Matta clearly trusts his guys to get the job done, so we will just have to see if these guys can make the changes necessary to play elite basketball again. While we saw some steps in the right direction tonight, they have yet to demonstrate that they can close out a game – especially after grabbing a big lead.

Surprisingly, the Buckeyes came out strong in this one. Lenzelle Smith started things off on the right foot with a pair of baskets to go along with a trip to the charity stripe. Jared Sullinger also managed an early trip to the line, indicated that the Buckeyes were attacking the basket early. In so doing, they managed to open up a couple of long jumpers for Craft, who drained a three and an 18 footer from the left wing.

Northwestern wasn’t going to take it lying down. The Cats used a nice Drew Crawford dribble drive early to get the Buckeyes focused on defending the lane. Crawford was then able to use the collapsing defense to find open shooters on the outside. The strategy enabled Northwestern to hit three of their first six treys, and kept the game closer than it otherwise would have been with the Buckeyes playing such motivated basketball.
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BBN Basketball LiveBlog: Northwestern Part II

Written February 29th, 2012 by Eric

It’s time to wake up and pay attention. March is just around the corner, and the Buckeyes have two regular season games left. Tonight’s matchup? The Bucks take on the Northwestern Wildcats in Evanston, IL.

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 8:00 PM EST.

Go Bucks!

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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Shots from the Schott

Written December 29th, 2011 by Eric

With both JoeL and I in attendence, we thought we would share what we saw during the Northwestern Game.

Thoughts on the Game:

JoeL:

William Buford had a huge night with 28 points.

  • It was nice to see a full house in our first big ten game. Look for more of these to come as word from the ticket office is there are only tickets left for 3 of the remaining home games: and those are up in the nose bleed section.
  • This obviously wasn’t a very easy game for people to get to. The BTN had us as a 5:30 start, right during rush hour traffic, so there were some unhappy people as they got there mid way through the first half.
  • So much for Shurna and Crawford being the top scorers in the conference. Our team defense and athleticism really shut those two guys down.
  • When Matta only plays 1 guy for 30+ minutes that is a very good thing for us. Nice to see everybody get some time to run on the court. It also helps when the guy with the most minutes is also the leading scorer with a career high 28 points. Huge game from Will.
  • Jordan Sibert, where have you been? Please don’t leave! That is the Sibert we are going to need to step up and knock down those 3′s.
  • Seems like we have our Mojo back after what was a struggling stretch there for a couple weeks starting with Sully’s back and foot problems.
  • Anyone notice the special shoes that Sully is wearing to protect his foot. Doesn’t seem to bother his playing style at all.

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Basketball LiveBlog: Northwestern

Written December 28th, 2011 by Eric

It’s Big Ten season here in Columbus, Ohio! The Buckeyes are set to play the Northwestern Wildcats at 5:30 pm.

Our Buckeye Blogger friends will be joining us at 5pm tonight. Go say “hi” to them today! OSU Silver Bullet, Buckeye House Call, Our Honor Defend, the Buckeye Blog, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, Scarlet and Game, and Fox Sports Ohio.

If you’re looking for web-video for the game, try First Row Sports (warning: pop-up ads). Click the basketball tab, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right game.

Go Bucks!

Picks for the Weak: Week 9

Written October 29th, 2011 by Eric

"You guys are picking like a bunch of weaklings!"

The picks return to the BBC after the interminable bye-week!

The last time we saw our intrepid pickers, Eric had the lead over Mali by two games. During week 6, our players came out with the following records:
Joe D: 4-6, Mali: 7-3, Jim: 5-5, Joe L: 8-2, Eric: 5-5, Chris: 6-4, Robby: 8-2

With his 8-2 record to tie for the lead in the week, Joe L succeeded in surpassing both Eric and Mali for the overall lead heading into the final leg of the season. The totals stand thus:
Joe L: 38-21, Eric: 37-22, Mali: 37-22, Jim: 33-26, Joe D: 31-28, Chris: 17-13, Robby: 13-7

It should be an exciting final couple of weeks!

This week’s games feature a couple of exciting divisional battles, particularly in the Big Ten race, along with a number of other fascinating matchups. Read on to find our picks!
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