By Paul M. Banks and Hans Hetrick
(HH) Well, it’s been a hell of a ride, but the 2009-2010 Ohio State Buckeye basketball team was denied a trip to the Final Four Friday night by a Tennessee Volunteer team that wanted it a little more Ohio State just didn’t have an answer down low for the Volunteers’ Wayne Chism and Brian Williams. Chism dropped in 22 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and Williams grabbed 12 rebounds and tipped in the deciding bucket for Tennessee.
All together, Tennessee had 20 offensive rebounds and 50 points in the paint. Thad Matta and the Buckeyes just couldn’t come up with any answers for Tennessee’s bigs. Paul, were you surprised at the Volunteers’ dominance around the rim?
(PB) A little bit because I always regarded the Vols as more of a slashing-to-the-whole or penetrating from the wings type of team than a traditional, straight-up post presence team. But Dallas Lauderdale can’t do it all himself, so you knew this was going to be a problem sometime. He handled a couple seven footers on the first weekend, so I was somewhat surprised he got bitch-slapped so badly Friday night.
(HH) Tennessee’s defense was particularly effective in the second half, holding the Buckeyes to 32 percent from the field. I kept waiting for a signature Ohio State scoring burst in the second half, but the Volunteers always had an answer. Jon Diebler and David Lighty’s performances certainly didn’t help. Diebler was 1-8 from the floor, and Lighty only played 26 minutes because of foul trouble. How did Tennessee do it, and more importantly for tomorrow, can Michigan State make a few runs against that long-armed Volunteer defense?
(PB) Michigan State has a deeper rotation of bigs than OSU. Yes, some of them are extremely overweight (Derrick Nix) or somewhat oafish (Garrick “the Shermanator” Sherman) but they’ll have fresh legs and 5 fouls to help spell Delvon Roe who’s knees are about as healthy and functioning as Bo Jackson’s hips. The Bucks just didn’t have enough fouls to give, or different rotations to throw at Rocky Top. State does, as long as Tom “H to the” Izzo makes the substitutions at the right times.
(HH) I’ve ran that last minute and a half of the game over in my mind more than once, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, Evan Turner might have lost the game for the Buckeyes. He had two turnovers down the stretch, and on the last play, His Royal Smoothness forced up two off-balance shots with defenders in his face.
On the second shot, Diebler and Lighty were wide open, behind the arc, and only a few feet away. He did score 31 points, but do you think Turner played well in the last few minutes?
(PB) You’re absolutely right. No, I don’t think he played his best basketball last night. Certainly not down the stretch anyway. I think he played like 1984-1989 Michael Jordan last night. Meaning he was effing good and effing talented, but he wasn’t mature enough to realize that his second and third bananas MUST be as crucial to the outcome as he is, in order for the team to succeed.
MJ was the same exact way, once he learned to trust and fully utilize his supporting cast, around the time the Chicago Bulls were in the Eastern Conference Finals then they gelled as a team. (Of course, his supporting cast didn’t become talented enough until 1991 when they won it all, but two years earlier Jordan “got it”) ET tried to do too much by himself last night, he does not “get it” yet. And please don’t replay that final sequence in your head anymore, you’ll only find yourself diagnosed with chronic depression.
(HH) The media has questioned Thad Matta and his six-player rotation. It didn’t help Matta’s case when he was forced to play Jeremie Simmons while Lighty sat with foul trouble. Simmons was 3-4 from behind the arc in the first half, and in the second half, Simmons didn’t see any time on the floor. Do you think the Buckeye’s shallow bench had anything to do with the loss?
(PB) I thought if lack of depth was going to be an issue with would have been during the Big Ten Tournament instead because there more games in a shorter turnaround.
(HH) If you had told any Ohio State fan at the beginning of the season that the basketball Buckeyes would end up with 29 wins, a Big Ten regular season championship, a Big Ten Tournament championship, and a Sweet Sixteen appearance, I believe the response would have been, “Hell yeah!”
They certainly raised everyone’s expectations at the end of the year. Still, that second half was hard to watch as Tennessee had their way with the Buckeye defense. Paul, you did a great job covering the Buckeye’s in the Big Ten Tournament and in Milwaukee for the Midwest Region, what’s your impression of this Buckeye team’s accomplishments? Did they overachieve, underachieve, or were they just about right?
(PB) Thanks man! I like to think I became somewhat of an expert on the scarlet and gray. It’s kind of sad they didn’t go to the Final Four because the bracket broke exactly in their favor and it was all theirs for the taking. Had Evan Almighty stayed healthy, they would have no doubt been a #1 seed, and we’d obviously say they underachieved. I personally thought they were going to bow out in the Elite 8 or Final Four when the tourney started. But it’s not about seedings, it’s really about match-ups and Tennessee just happened to be a very unfavorable match-up.
(HH) Evan “His Royal Smoothness” Turner and the rest of the Buckeyes created a lot of fantastic moments this year. It’s been fun covering and watching them. Three things I’d like to point at the close of the season.
Number one: thesportbank.net’s coining of “His Royal Smoothness” as Evan Turner’s official nickname was endorsed by the beautiful and talented reporter for the Big Ten Network, Katie Witham.
Number two: Thad Matta is still a recruiting monster. Ohio State has the number one ranked recruiting class coming in next year, highlighted by two McDonalds’ All-Americans, Columbus’ own Jared Sullinger and Fort Wayne, Indiana’s DeShaun Thomas. Two bigs the Buckeyes sorely needed against Tennessee.
Number three: the spring football game is less than a month away. Until then, come on green and white. Show those orange SEC snotballs how to play Big Ten basketball.
(PB:) AGREED. Bruce Pearl is a snake in the grass who fondled Erin Andrews live on the air, made racist comments about his own players at a luncheon, and ratted out a rival program for doing the exact same under-handed and corrupt things he himself was doing at the time. Other than that though, stand-up guy.
I have a screen capture from tv news that showed me interviewing Tom Izzo as the wallpaper for both my Blackberry and my Twitter page. So you know I REALLY mean it when I say “GO GREEN…………GO WHITE!!!!”
Regrading your other points: the Bucks could lose Evan Turner, the national player of the year, and be BETTER somehow with that lineup!
Yes, Katie Witham is indeed gorgeous, knowledgeable and talented and hopefully she’ll help get this “His Royal Smoothness” thing to take off. You can own the patent like Pat Riley coined the term “three-peat.”
As for spring football, that’s more of a Buckeye thing, my teams kind of suck at football (don’t get me wrong, college football is one of my main loves in life- you can ask my ex, she’ll verify) so I don’t really get into it much. If I were a Buckeye fan though, I’d be all over it.
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