Wednesday, April 3

Flawed Buckeyes cool off, exposed by Wichita

Ohio St's successful season came to a crashing end in Los Angeles last Saturday at the hands of Malcolm Armstead and the Wichita St Shockers. The Buckeyes could not have possibly played any worse, and with all do respect to Greg Marshall and his talented and scrappy ball club, lost to an inferior team that we would typically beat 9 out of 10 times. The downfall in this game for the Bucks was their shooting, something that has been a strength for them this March (50% from beyond the arc in the tournament coming into this one). Here are some abysmal shooting stats that really sum up Ohio St's 70-66 Elite 8 loss...

- team shot 24% in the first half

- Thomas started 3/12

- team started 0/7

- Craft finished 2/12

- team finished 5/25 from 3's

Even after the Buckeyes went on a 23-6 run late in the game to make this one look close, they still only finished at 31% from the field. That run was sparked by some big time plays by LaQuinton Ross, who still only managed to shoot 4-12, and even though Tank finished with his usual 23 points, he was 0-6 from three-point land.

What made this game even more frustrating than the awful shooting, was the fact that OSU did have that late run in them, but it was still too little too late. It made it so it was like we lost twice. I'm watching this game in a hotel room in Las Vegas, and when the Buckeyes go down 20 with about 12 minutes to play, I pretty much gave up. I couldn't watch anymore, started getting ready to go out, and even after a short period of time was almost starting to get past the fact that our season was over (after all, I was in the happiest place on Earth). Then I see that Ohio St has cut it to 62-59 with 2:49 left, and immediately I am back into it, thinking the Bucks still have a chance. When Tekele Cotton hit a three-pointer to re-seal it, I was devastated all over again. It was a tough game to swallow.

I'd been saying all year that I didn't think this Ohio St team was that great, and they certainly weren't as good as they were the previous three years. But they got hot at the right time, winning 11 straight games, and with the way NCAA hoops is set up, especially in a field as open as this years, sometimes that's all you need - to just be a good team on a hot streak (See: Kemba in 2011). At the same time, with the way NCAA hoops is set up, especially in a field as open as this years, one team can have one bad game and lose to a team they typically shouldn't lose to. So what the Buckeyes had going for them was ultimately their demise.

However, it was a very fun tournament for the Buckeyes up to this point, with unbelievable, clutch, game-winning three-pointers from Aaron Craft against Iowa St and Ross against Arizona. And even though our season is over, us Buckeye fans still have a very strong rooting interest in this Final Four, as that school from up north still remains in the field. I think Louisville has unquestionably looked like the best team so far this tournament, but Syracuse and michigan are not far behind. L'ville will face the Shockers in the early game on Saturday, followed by the 'Cuse/bitchigan showdown. I really could care less which of those other three teams wins this thing, just as long as it's not those boners.

So to sum up the Buckeyes' 2012-13 campaign, it was an up-and-down season that ended a week too early, but gave us some great moments along the way. We'll say goodbye to Evan Ravenel, who I probably liked way more than I should have in his three-year Buckeye career, and most likely DeShaun Thomas, who has a big pay day waiting for him in the Association. Assuming Tank does leave Columbus early, it will be Aaron Craft's team next year, with Q probably having to step up as the main scorer. Should Thomas shock the NCAA basketball world and return, the Bucks could be an early favorite to be cutting down the nets next season. Until then, 139 days until kickoff...


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