Transistion rules as Bucks pull away from Lions
Yesterday, Wisconsin put a damper on the highly anticipated, titanic 1-2 match-up with Ohio State when the Spartans upset them in the Breslin Center. Today, the Buckeyes nearly saw the same thing unfold before their very eyes as they managed to once again escape the Nittany Lions 68-60 in Columbus.
Penn State led by as many as eight points on multiple occasions throughout the night, as the Ohio State team looked eerily similar to the one that nearly had the meltdown of the millenium a week ago. As they have so often this season, the Buckeyes seemed relatively uninterested in the game at the defensive end. This was especially true in the final 10 minutes of the first half when Penn State hit five three pointers and went from 4 down to 8 up in what seemed like just a few possessions. However, after Penn State briefly continued their little run in the beginning of the second half, the Buckeyes managed to turn things around, as they clearly kicked things into another gear. The source of this newfound transistion was Jamar Butler, who had an outstanding second half scoring 15 points, with 3 very timely three pointers, as well as an impressive fast break layup. He had 18 points overall.
Greg Oden, as usual, had the biggest impact on the game; with a spectacular 17 pt/14 rebound performance. He did leave briefly with what appeared to be a wrist injury, but was seen just minutes later giving Matta a thumbs up and was back in the game soon enough.
This win, of course, is the precursor to the game this Sunday against #1 (or #2) Wisconsin in Columbus, which will only continue to grow in hype as the week wears on. In fact, this game is already becoming the biggest regular season game that I can remember, and may be the most highly-anticipated basketball game since the '99 Final Four. Sure, '05 Illinois had all of the excitement of a great basketball game, but the build-up for it was nothing compared to what this game is going to be.
Anyways, I think it's safe to say that if Ohio State plays like it has this season against PSU on Sunday, we don't stand a chance. I bought the whole "a close win against PSU is good because it gives the players a reality check" excuse last week, but the general rule for that saying is that the next time you two cross paths, you make sure it was a fluke. And, as a general rule for all sports in general, when you're the #1 team in the country playing at home, you damn sure better pulverize the last-ranked team in your conference. Although a win is a win, this definitely isn't the high note that the Bucks were hoping to go in on.
But hey, as long as we aren't coming in off a loss, right?