#1 Ohio State Gets Last Laugh on #10 Wisconsin

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Big 10 Champions

After the alleged “spitting incident” in Madison less than a month ago, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said, “All I know is we won the game, deal with it.” By dealing with it, did he mean for the Buckeyes to embarrass the Badgers for 40 minutes the next time the two teams played? If so, Ohio State sure “dealt with it” on Sunday, winning 93-65.

By: Justin Mertes-Mistretta

To spite the Badgers in pre-game chatter, Jared Sullinger predicted a 50 point win for the Buckeyes on Sunday. While his team only won by 28 points, it felt more like 50.

“Wisconsin’s a good team,” Sullinger said. “That first loss I didn’t take too lightly. I wanted to win, and I wanted to win big.”

The game was close for the first seven minutes, but, unfortunately for the Badgers, no one witnessed this because CBS decided to air the Missouri Valley Championship ending instead. CBS switched it over to Columbus, Ohio just in time to see the Buckeyes begin their onslaught.

How Ohio State won: Sullinger started the game by scoring eight of the team’s first 12 points. From there on out, it was the Jon Diebler Show as he was enfuego yet again from beyond the arc. He finished the game 7-for-8 from 3-point range, scoring 27 points overall. Not a bad way to get sent off on Senior Night.

“It’s an amazing run for him; I think it’s amazing for him,” Ohio State coach Thad Matta said. “All the shots he shoots, all the practicing he does, he deserves that.”

It wasn’t just Diebler who was feeling it from deep. Fifth-year senior David Lighty and junior William Buford were 2-for-2 and 3-for-3 from that area, respectively. Even freshmen Deshaun Thomas and Jordan Sibert got in on the action, as each hit a trifecta in the closing minutes of the game.

As a team, the Buckeyes shot 14-for-15 from 3-point land, which is an unearthly 93 percent. All of the ‘Bucks 3s came in a row, setting a record for greatest 3-point performance in Division 1 history.

“14 of 15. I don’t think people do that very often,” Ryan said. “I thought we shot the ball well against them at our place, but what they did today is just unheard of.”

It’s hard to beat a team when it is shooting that well. Add on a dominating defense performance and it is nearly impossible.

Freshman point guard Aaron Craft, who was flat out handled by Jordan Taylor in their previous matchup, got revenge on Sunday. He held, in my opinion, the Big 10’s best guard to only eight points on 2-for-9 shooting from the field. “Crafty” proved today why he is my pick for this year’s Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

“It was unbelievable,” Diebler said. “We have two of the best on-ball defenders in the Big Ten in Dave [Lighty] and Aaron [Craft]. Aaron just frustrates people. You’ve got to give him a lot of credit.”

Player of the Game: Senior guard Jon Diebler, Ohio StateJon Diebler

Could it have been scripted any better? Diebler, the Big 10’s leading 3-pointer scorer, hit seven 3s in his last home game as a Buckeye.

Coach Ryan started the game with freshman guard Josh Gasser on Diebler. He thought the quickness of a guard would be able to stay with him through screens.

He thought wrong.

Once Diebler made a few threes, one of which was nearly from the stands, Ryan decided to put senior forward Tim Jarmusz on the streaking shooter. They thought the size and wingspan of Jarmusz could get a hand up to stop him from getting his shot off.

He thought wrong again.

Unfortunately for Ryan and the Badgers, nothing was going to stop Diebler from raining threes on senior night. They could have put a blind fold on him and it wouldn’t have mattered. When a guy is feeling it, he is feeling it and there is nothing you can do about it.

“He’s on fire right now,” Ryan said. “This is the time of year that you see guys doing what he’s doing, like a Steph Curry for example. When you have someone playing and shooting like he is, it can get you places in March.”

After Diebler went 10-for-12 at Penn State and 7-for-8 against Wisconsin the past two games, is there any debate who the best 3-point shooter in the nation is?

What this win means going forward: The win meant little in terms of the Big 10 standings, since the Buckeyes already had the regular season title locked up before Sunday’s game. However, the win made it almost impossible for the selection committee to not give these Buckeyes the number one overall seed in the tournament.

In the end, it was the Buckeyes who got the last laugh against the Badgers, and if Ohio State keeps shooting and defending the way it did on Sunday, it will be laughing all the way to a National Championship.

Justin Mertes-Mistretta is a senior writer for TheSportsBank.net. Follow him on Twitter at MertesMist_tsb or read his blog here.

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