Take it in Buckeye fans.
Wow, there just aren't any words to describe what went down today. Earlier this week, I referred to today's game as the biggest basketball game for the school since the '99 Final Four, and I have absolutely no problem in standing by that comment. On Senior day, the two veterans playing their final home games Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis made incredible statements. Harris led all Buckeyes with 13 points, 9 of which came via the three point shot. Granted, on the defensive side of the ball he was his typical invisible-except-when-fouling self, he made his presence felt on the offensive side of the ball more than enough. It seemed like every time Wisconsin hit a big shot to kill any momentum we may have been gaining, Harris answered right back with a three-ball. I have been an Ivan Harris doubter for much of the past few seasons, mainly for his inabilities to play defense and rebound effectively, but for one day, I was his biggest fan. There's no doubt that he's as hard a worker as anyone on the court (mainly on the offensive side), and he really proved that today. Lewis, on the other hand, had some troubles throughout the day on shot selection. He would often jack up shots when it really wasn't needed, as he only went 1-6 on the day. However, he made the biggest play of the game when he blocked Kammron Taylor's 15-foot attempt at the buzzer to win the game. As the buzzer sounded, Lewis fell to the ground and was mobbed by his teammates in celebration.
As usual, the two biggest names of the day weren't Harris or Lewis, but rather Mike Conley Jr. and another Buckeye possibly playing his last home game, Greg Oden. Conley hit the shot to put the Buckeyes ahead with 3.9 seconds left, and I'm still trying to figure out how he got that thing off. He finished the game with 11 points, 6 boards, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Oden, on the other hand, may want to put this game out of his memory as far as personal performances are concerned. For all the hype leading up, Oden played pretty poor, netting only 11 points and 5 rebounds. He had plenty of opportunities to score, but he just could not hold on to the ball whatsoever. I'm not sure if it was the injured hand, or just a lack of concentration, but either way, 5 turnovers is not what you want out of your best player.
When asked about next season after the game, Oden simply said "That's a decision that's going to be made later on in the year." I think everyone knows what that means, and have been expecting this to be a one and done deal since he committed.
With this win, the Buckeyes have become just the second school in Big Ten history to win conference titles in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball all in the same season. The only other team to do it? Last year's Buckeyes. I've only been around for 17+ years now, but I know my Buckeye history, and I have to say that this day and age may be the best time ever to be an Ohio State fan. The only other time period that comes to mind is the early '60s in the days of Woody Hayes and Fred Taylor. Now I don't want to take away from anything those two guys did, but Jim and Thad are giving them a run for their money.
Other game notes:
- Brian Butch suffered one of the more horrifying injuries in recent memory in the first half when he dislocated his elbow. When I saw it, I had to turn away immediately. It ranks up there with the Willis McGahee injury in the Fiesta bowl as far as being gruesome is concerned.
- Thad, the 5 second rule does not apply when you are picking gum off of a ground that a bunch of sweaty basketball players have been running on all day. I think I speak for everyone when I say "I hope you brush your teeth 10 times tonight, and use an entire bottle of mouthwash."