Thursday, April 3

Ohio St. Finally Gets Elusive NCAA Title

OK, so it was only the NIT. It's always great to go out on a winning note though. Here are my thoughts on the Buckeyes' championship victory over UMass.

1st Half
41-36 UMass
Ohio St. had way too many dumb turnovers (11) early on. Butler had a couple uncharacteristically bad passes, and the Bucks often forced plays that weren't there. They also got dominated on the boards. UMass snagged 15 first half offensive rebounds. 15!
The only things that keep OSU in the game were their three-point shooting and the play of Freshman Evan Turner (who I've nicknamed ET, not only for his initials but also his remarkable resemblance to an alien). The Buckeyes went 6-12 from beyond the arc. ET had 12 points and was 3-3 from long distance.
A key play that probably went unnoticed by most people was in the closing seconds of the half. UMass put up a last second shot that got stuck in the rim with 0.2 seconds to play. The possession arrow went to UMass, who obviously didn't get a shot off in said 0.2 seconds. This gave OSU the possession to start the second half, in which Othello Hunter was fouled by Dante Milligan. Hunter hit both FTs, but more importantly Milligan picked up his third foul. He quickly picked up his fourth and played no role in the rest of the game after a great first half, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

2nd Half
Ohio St. started the half on an 11-1 run, taking a 47-42 lead, and they never looked back. They continued to shoot well from downtown (finishing 10-19 for a 52.6% mark) and cut back on their TOs. As previously stated, Milligan played well for UMass in the first half, scoring 12 points. He got in instant foul trouble in the second, and was a non-factor. OSU also compiled 12 blocks in the game, compared to the Minutemen's 3. They hit the free ones at the end, and went on to win 92-85.

Game Notes

We beat them at their game.
Ohio St. most often plays at a very slow place, and would rather see games in the low 70's or even 60's. UMass loves to run, and their game plan was to turn this into a shootout. Be careful what you wish for. Jamar Butler and his mates ran with Massachusetts the whole game, and the announcers even commented on how Minutemen PG Gary Forbes looked tired for the first time in the tournament. Ohio St. finished with 92 points, well above their average.

Evan Turner
ET dropped 20, shooting 5-6 from the floor and 7-11 from the line, showing that he could be the scorer we thought we were going to see after he put up 21 against Tennessee back in January. This kid could have a brilliant future in the scarlet and gray and I'm anxious to see him next year.

Jamar Butler's Parents
Am I the only one that saw these two? His mother was straight white trash and looked as if she was in her early 40's. His father was a huge black man in his 60's. I don't know how these two produced such a talented off spring, but on behalf Buckeye fans everywhere, thank you.

Looking into the crystal ball.
Despite the loss of superstar Jamar Butler and big man Othello Hunter, the future looks very bright for Ohio St. Starters David Lighty, Kosta Koufos, and the afore mentioned Evan Turner all return, as well as Ohio high school's all-time scoring leader Jon Diebler and monster Dallas Lauderdale, who played a key role throughout the NIT. But the biggest (literally) reason to get excited for next year is the arrival of 7'1 recruit BJ Mullens. This will allow Koufos to move around outside more, where he is much more comfortable. Speaking of Kosta, this is the biggest question mark heading into the 08-09 season. He had million dollar offers to play overseas in Greece last year, which he declined to come to the Buckeye state. I can only imagine that the offers are going to increase after his stellar performance this year. The 7-foot outside shooter said that he hasn't made a decision yet. He will play for the International team over the summer, then make his decision. Heres to hoping he stays in the good 'ol US of A.

Farewell, and good luck.
Hats off to Jamar Butler, who will graduate after having an unbelievable career. He will leave Ohio St. holding the school record for most career 3 pointers, assists, games played, games started, and games won (along with Matt Terwilliger). He will also leave as one of my all-time favorite Buckeye ballers (up there with the likes of Scooney Penn, Terence Dials, Matt Sylvester, and Mike Conley). It was fun while it lasted Jamar, give 'em hell at the next level.


Anonymous said...

your comments about butler's parents were uncalled for and absolutely tasteless. parents of players often google their kids' names for recent articles. is this what you want a buckeye athlete's parents to see?

Anonymous said...

First and last time visiting this blog after seeing those comments on Jamar's parents. Lame.

Also, you have your facts wrong. Koufos has to decide by April 27th. He doesn't have all summer.

buckeye on the border said...

Ditto anon, although I think you're wrong about that April 27th date. April 27 is the deadline to declare for the NBA draft, but Koufos could decide at any time to take an offer overseas.

Andy said...

First and last time, eh Anonymous? Aren't you principled! Kinda throwing the baby out with the bathwater, if you ask me. We've got good stuff here. I'm glad to see you're bold enough to go as "Anonymous."

OSU last won the NIT in 1986, FYI.

Nick said...

Figgs is clearly joking around here, although sometimes it's tough to discern that in text.

Chill out anonymous, Figgs loves the Bucks more than anyone I know. He said Jamar had an outstanding career and is one of his favorite OSU hoopsters.

dave said...

Shame on you figgs for describing what you saw on TV (thats the way I would have described them as well). Because of you I now hate everything there is about Ohio. Thanks for killing my dreams. This is the 100th and probably not the last time I visit this blog. Do you want that on your conscious? You've got a lot of growing up to do mister.

Go Kobe

Anonymous said...