Buford Lifts Buckeyes Over Boilers

By Joe Beale on February 7, 2012 at 11:45p
Photo: Terry Gilliam / APHummel fought hard in his last game against OSU.

It wasn't easy, and it was seldom pretty on defense, but it was a win and Thad Matta will take it. More importantly, Will Buford came out of his lengthy slump to lead the team with 29 points, many of them late, carrying Ohio State to an 87-84 win against a scrappy Purdue team. 

D.J. Byrd led Purdue with 24 points on 8/12 shooting, with 7/9 from distance. Kelsey Barlow contributed 14 for the Boilers, 12 of them in the 2nd half helping Purdue stay with OSU right to the end. Barlow made a rare start tonight along with freshman Anthony Johnson, as coach Matt Painter chose to sit senior guards Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith to send a message to his team. 

Apparently, Painter was unhappy with his team's effort in a 17-point home loss to Indiana on Saturday night. He could not have been displeased tonight, as his team came out firing on all cylinders. The Boilermakers shot 51.9% from the field and 55% from 3-point range as they consistently riddled the OSU defense with high ball screens and jumpers from the wings. But their defense also allowed OSU to shoot 52% overall and 56.3% from distance. 

The Buckeyes looked a little shaky when Jared Sullinger was whistled for his 4th foul at the 6:42 mark. Aaron Craft had already left the game with his 4th, and now OSU was going to lose their main offensive threat in a tight game where every bucket would be crucial. After Travis Carroll made one of two free throws at the 4:42 mark, the game was knotted at 73 with Craft and Sullinger still on the bench.

That was when the senior Buford took over. First he canned a jumper for 2 from just right of the top of the key on a nice set play. Then after Sam Thompson emphatically blocked a Barlow shot attempt, Deshaun Thomas dribbled the ball down the court in transition. He gave up to Shannon Scott, and Scott threw a dangerous pass over to Buford on the left side where he hit another deuce from almost the same spot on the floor. This put OSU up 77-73 with 3:48 remaining and prompted a timeout by Painter.

As play resumed, the partisan crowd at the Schott became more rowdy than usual and inspired the Buckeyes to a more intense defensive stand. This time they forced Purdue into multiple sets and looks, and finally Robbie Hummel was forced to take a contested jumper as the shot clock ran out. After rebounding the miss, OSU moved into their sets, and Buford stepped back and drained a 3-pointer from just right of the key to put Ohio State up 80-73 with 2:53 remaining.

After an exchange of possessions burned a minute off the clock, the Boilers' Lewis Jackson drove the lane for a tough layup to cut the margin to 80-75. OSU took a timeout at the 1:50 mark in order to bring Sullinger and Craft back into the game. OSU worked the ball late into the shot clock, but Thompson's jumper in the lane fell short, and Purdue had another opportunity. Kelsey Barlow then charged right through Thompson for a layup attempt (no call) and then D.J. Byrd (who also had 4 fouls) climbed up on Sullinger's back and shoved Jared to the ground, causing the ball to bounce off Sully out of bounds (no call). 

On the inbounds play, Byrd was fouled by Thompson but he made only one of two. After Craft made one of two free throws on the other end, Purdue's Barlow drove the lane again and threw up a wild layup off the glass. In the ensuing scrum, Jackson ended up with the ball and attempted a shot that was partially blocked by Evan Ravenel. The rebound was tipped around but ended up in the hands of Buford, and the senior raced to the other end for a dunk that put OSU up 83-76 with only 38 seconds left. The Buckeyes then held on for a 3-point win as Hummel hit one last 3-pointer at the 3 second mark to make it look more respectable.

Jared Sullinger scored 18 points on 4/9 shooting and 9/12 from the line. He was frequently folded, spindled, and mutilated by Purdue's physical defense and he left the game with a minute left after the mugging he got from Byrd, but despite the foul trouble he played 32 minutes and pulled down 6 rebounds. Buford led the team in rebounds with 7, while Craft and Thomas helped carry the scoring load by contributing 13 apiece. The win was Ohio State's 39th consecutive win at home, with the last loss coming to Purdue almost exactly 2 years ago. 

It did not appear as if it would be a close game early, as OSU jumped out to a 7-0 lead. But Purdue made a few defensive adjustments, namely being more physical inside and double-teaming Sullinger, and brought their senior guards back in the game to steady the offense on their way to tying the score at 7. It was a see-saw battle for the rest of the half, with OSU taking leads and Purdue staging comebacks.  OSU went on a 12-5 run to take a 19-12 lead but a 13-5 run by the Boilers, punctuated by Barlow going over Sullinger for a thunderous dunk, gave Purdue a 25-24 lead at the 7:35 mark. 

Craft went to work on OSU's next possession, driving the lane and making a short layup on the left to regain the lead. Then he drove the lane again and dished to Lenzelle Smith Jr. for a triple from the right wing. Finally, after OSU threw a sloppy pass downcourt leading to a strange series of near-steals and crazy out-of-bounds saves, Craft settled the team down and calmly stepped back for a 3-pointer from the left wing off an assist from Sullinger. After a Purdue timeout, two more buckets completed a 12-0 run and gave the Buckeyes their biggest lead, 36-25. 

But Purdue fought back with a 15-4 run to close out the half. D.J. Byrd and Ryne Smith hit 3-pointers, Lewis Jackson drove the lane for a couple of uncontested layups, and Robbie Hummel was fouled shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws. Right before the half, with OSU leading 40-38, Jackson spun into the lane and converted a fade-away jumper over the taller J.D. Weatherspoon to tie it up at 40 going into the half. 

Hummel scored 13 points in his last game against Ohio State, while Jackson contributed 14 off the bench. The Boilers severely tested the OSU defense with numerous ball screens and weave sets. As he has done throughout his career at OSU, Jared Sullinger frequently failed to hedge on the ball screens, thus giving up open looks left and right for Purdue's outside shooters. Still, Purdue struggled on defense, racking up 25 personal fouls and sending Buckeye shooters to the line for a total of 34 free throws. Ohio State was solid at the line, shooting over 76%, and they outrebounded the Boilers 31-21. 

Next up, a Saturday home showdown against Tom Izzo and the Michigan State Spartans with a share of the conference lead on the line. If tonight's game was a wake-up call, the Buckeyes should be fully awake by the time Sparty arrives on Saturday.


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pcon258's picture

ive got a question for those of you that had the benefit of replay. was the officiating as bad as it seemed? i dont know if ive ever seen more incensced fans in the schott, and it seemed like they were mssing calls every few minutes, especially in the second half. im always against blaming officals, but there were at least a few fouls (the one where sullinger was pulled down from the air onto his back and then limped off the court). of course we were all biased, and had horrible angles on the plays, but there seemed to be some horrendous calls. if nothing else, it fired up the crowd and may have given osu a little extre boost

Huth's picture

It was bad but didn't seem one sided. The zebras started off calling everything and then over-corrected in the 2nd half and swallowed the whistle when they realized everyone was in foul trouble. The two that come to mind, Sullinger clearly getting mugged on a shot underneath and then us tackling someone on a layup late with no call.

Squirrel Master's picture

it was bad all over. and not so much that they were missing alot of calls, they were making alot of bad calls. the worst was the over the backs at the end. Sullinger was hammered by Byrd which should have gotten him his fifth, then he should have gotten the 5th again when buford stole the ball and dunked it.

I think Matta needs to look more at matchups than worry about who is his starters. He has alot of deep talent. This time Buford matched up really well and he played great. Smith Jr. did not and was a liability till Thompson came in. Buckeyes took control of the game one Thompson stepped up and put some perimeter D on them.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

DarthSweaterVest's picture

The over the back by Byrd on Sully where he basically bodyslammed him from behind was particularly horrible.

Squirrel Master's picture

yeah, let me correct myself and say it should have been a flagrant foul and he should have been tossed!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Brutus's picture

Better go stock up on water and canned goods now because I have a feeling once people wake up and starting commenting on this recap, it's going to seem as though the sky is falling. 

VestedInterest's picture

Just remember, oh you prognosticators of doom and gloom, you glass half empties and wearers of dog shitted shoes...the sun came up and the home win streak remains in tact. Keep in mind the Herculean effort of a corn fed white guy (8-12, 7-9 from 3) is what kept the Boilers in this game. No matter how you dissect the sudden lack of defense, this kid misses a few and we're on top by a dozen, and it's business as usual.

And before you recite a long winded sililoquy regarding how much it should worry us that this team doesn't have what it takes to win it all, only one team does every year, so please spare us all.

But yeah, we could stand a little coaching up on D ;)

Squirrel Master's picture

I am not doom and gloom about this one. It was a hard fought close win which you want these types of games to see what they are made of. They are winning these games now instead of earlier in the year they struggled. It was not pretty but they are winning these games.

I will say though that when they get in trouble it is because the perimeter defense is struggling. I attribute that to 2 things, and they are not bad. 1. Craft is so aggresive that it sometimes allows someone to get open for a 3, 2. mostly happens when the other team has a player that can shoot outside from the 4,5 spot. Sullinger is a liability on the perimeter. and lets not talk about thomas on the perimeter. Lenzelle is pretty much on an island covering the whole top of the key. but it is the aggresive nature we love that this is the cause of. they can fix this problem!

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

baddogmaine's picture

Well that was certainly interesting. How interesting and why probably depends on whether one sees only the W next to our name or whether one sees, like me, troubling problems.

The complete failure by the defense was not expected, though after Paul's performance against us and the large number of open 3s WIS had (but didn't make) it could not have been a compolete surprise. Purdue executed very very well and unless we learn to both defend the perimiter and cut off drives up the lane this likely will not be the last time our defense gets exposed. It may take a perfect storm but even New Orleans could have been prevented to a great degree with preparation. I expect that Matta will be working on our defense.

What Purdue demonstrated is what I have been harping on for a while - a team that has many scorers is really hard to guard. After the second IN game, when Smith had his first offensive breakthrough, that was how we were described. The reality is much closer to how announcer Dakach saw it last night - too many Buckeyes can be ignored at the offensive end. We were really really lucky over the last 6 minutes when both Sully and Craft were sitting with four fouls that we were facing the #88 rated defense - Purdue knew it needed to guard only Buford and Thomas and couldn't do it. Against a better defense the team we had on the floor at the end is going to get shut down.

No one in scarlet and gray played defense so the subs can't be criticized for that. But once again the bench contributed almost no scoring, almost no rebounds, and committed 2 of our 7 turnovers. In the first half we owned the glass. With Sullinger out Purdue dominated. It did not become just even, it tilted heavily in the Boilermakers' favor. By the end of the game Purdue was getting all the lose balls - and Buford's breakaway dunk came on a tipped ball that we should have been able to control near the glass and didn't.  It may be that the subs simply are not very good. My feeling is that several of those players have game, and what we are seeing is guys with potential still struggling because in games sush as NE and PSU when they could have gotten experience they rode the pine while WB logged the minutes. I said then (and got criticized for saying it) that that was poor team development by Matta, and until we cut down the nets in March I will continue to believe that if we lose because we needed a bench we didn't have that Matta will have some explaining to do.

And in answer to an above post the officiating was bad but as in IN it went both ways. The problem last night was that fouls were not being called enough on either team. Sully was getting hacked - so were Boilermakers. The reality is that Sully picked up a couple of fouls 20 feet from the basket - he was out there looking awkward and the refs were right in calling it. Having starters in foul trouble against the Hoosiers was not a once-in-a-season occurrance, and we can expect that it will happen again. (I would argue that the reason Thomas does not get into worse foul trouble than he does is because he doesn't play tight enough defense to touch the guy he's guarding. That is not the way to avoid fouls.) In March if we give up 80 points we will lose. In March if we have to play with a lineup missing two starters other than Smith we will lose because we won't have enough offense ourselves. We have one month to try to get something more out of our bench, because if someone gets hurt or has to sit we become a different team.

Finally, a win is a win. Good teams have lost to bad teams and we didn't. But the REALLY good teams have overcome challenges better than we did. KY played a Top 10 team last night and won by 20. SYR had to play without Melo and survived. MO survived KS even with Ratliffe on the bench. NC used its 33 point loss to FSU to become better.  If we lose a game or two we will go dancing as a 2 seed (or worse). If we face a #3 that is better built to survive adversity - not better than our starting five but better when subs have to play - 2012 could look a lot like 2011. This is not pure negativity, it is an objective observation. Nothing that anyone says here is going to change that. As a fan I hope that Matta recognizes that and gets us prepared to face a perfect storm better than NO was to face Katrina.

thatlillefty's picture

TOOOO long... could not read

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

So your central thesis, which meanders a bit, is that the problem with OSU basketball is Thad Matta? Interesting. Well, allow me to retort.

The man has won 20 games every season he's coached at OSU, he's gone to the NCAA tournament every season but one where his team was eligible, and regularly recruits some of the best players in the nation. OSU has been part of the national championship discussion at least four of those seasons. Before Matta, OSU basically had four similar seasons since the last good Fred Taylor team. Think for a moment, that's four seasons between Luke Witte and Greg Oden.

So while Thad Matta is far from perfect, no one is, he's brought us the best era if OSU basketball in 40 years. He's got nothing to answer for at this point.

Squirrel Master's picture

+1 I agree. Matta is definitely not the problem.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

baddogmaine's picture

Then what is the problem? Why did we nearly lose to the weakest Purdue team in ages, at home? Just a fluke? IL was just a fluke? IN was just a fluke? *Something* is always a problem, until you've won the last game of the year. Does OSU have to change nothing at all? If there are changes that should be made who is responsibe for trying to implement them?

11W readers are such all-or-nothing types. Any criticism is seen as rejection of the whole. Gotta get over that if you want improvement. And if OSU is going to hoist the trophy there is improvement that needs to be made. The coach is going to have to lead that, that's his job.

Squirrel Master's picture

yeah things need to change but when you have a coach that has the program in the top 10 each and every year (how about #1 overall seed twice in past 3 years), THAT IS NOT THE PROBLEM!

I agree Matta does need to tweak the game plan and fix some problems but sounds to me like you are going all or nothing. The overall game plan is working very well and has kept the buckeyes in every game this year but Kansas, which Sully was out for, and even that game was a battle. When all the loses combine for 20 point margin, the system and coaching is working. Its the players that need to either work harder or play smarter. a few baskets and we are talking about an undefeated team.


I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

baddogmaine's picture

Are you satisfied with  Ohio State being "in every game"? My measure is that I want to dominate the lesser teams (Purdue, IL, IN) and be able to hold our own with teams as good. We will find out this weekend how we do at home against an equal.

Is finishing somewhere in the Top 10 good enough for you? It's not for me when we are being given credit for having the pieces to go playing on the last day of the season. You and I seem to have very different ways of measuring success. Yours is being consistently good without ever being truly great. Mine is a #1 seed performing like a #1 seed which, at this point, I don't think we will do any better this year than we did last year.

Its the players that need to either work harder or play smarter.

And how does that get done? It doesn't happen by the players calling a players-only meeting and agreeing to do better. A coach that doesn't have his players working hard enough after 20 games needs to change *something.* A coach that doesn't have his players playing smart enough after 20 games needs to change *something.*  Right now we are a team that has beaten almost everyone we have played, including a small number of good opponents, but that has shown signs in recent games of being vulnerable - not playiong hard enough or smart enough, as you say. If that is good enough for you then don't ask for any changes. It's not good enough for me.



Run_Fido_Run's picture

Some of the concerns you raise are vaild, but we don't really care what you perceive to be good enough for you.

We trust Matta to do the best he can with this team. I'll take my chances with Matta over Baddogmaine.

You don't seem to have much respect for probabilities and thus tend to overinterpret short term results. Coaching/recruiting is obviously very important, but there are factors beyond a coach's control, such as tournament draws, upsets in the brackets, officiating, luck, etc.

Based on your logic, you should have been raking Mike K over the coals during February 2010, right before Duke went on their unexpected NC run. Here is how Duke did in the eight years prior to 2009 - 2010:

2001–02: NCAA Sweet 16

2002–03: NCAA Sweet 16

2003–04: NCAA Final Four

2004–05: NCAA Sweet 16

2005–06: NCAA Sweet 16

2006–07: NCAA 1st Round

2007–08: NCAA 2nd Round

2008–09: NCAA Sweet 16

This is Matta's eighth years as HC at Ohio State.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

Matta has brought more success to this program since... shit I don't even know who. Jim O'Brien, unfortunately, doesn't count anymore. So what, 20-25 years? OSU was a non-factor in the big ten for years before Matta took over.


This is a very YOUNG team, hence only one Sr in the starting 5.  I believe, since this is a young team, that they lose focus at time and you're right if you're saying it's his job to reel them in and get them to play the right way. I think this game can be used as a teachable moment in a couple of ways: 1) Defense needs to remain a priority and is something you always have to work for/on 2) Keep attacking the basket. We got to the line a TON in this game and I think that was a huge reason why OSU won. 3)Get Buford some more touches. He HAS to be the 2nd option behind only Sullinger. I think they could play a great two man game in the tournament. Double down on Sully to leave Willie B open.. pick your poison. A lot of people will point to his inconsistent shooting, but if he doesn't get his touches it's a non-factor. We've seen what he can do when he's on his game, and it's up to him to do so. He did it last night when we NEEDED him, and I think that shows a lot.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

for you consideration, via wikipedia

Success and Fred Taylor era (1959–1997)

Of all other Buckeye coaches, it was Fred Taylor who would give Ohio State basketball its greatest claim to fame. With the hiring of Taylor in 1958, not much was expected following an 11–11 season during the 1958–1959 season. However in 1960, the second year coach, Taylor, and All-American player, Jerry Lucas, led the Buckeyes to their first NCAA Championship Title, defeating California 75–55 in the final game. The 1960 championship season is the only NCAA Tournament championship that the Buckeyes have compiled since that date. Taylor's Buckeyes continued their dominance by being the runner-up the following two seasons, and making a total of five tournament appearances during Taylor's 18 seasons tenure. With the departure of his championship team, Taylor began to see teams accustomed to Ohio State basketball of the past. Taylor's last season at Ohio State in 1976 saw the Buckeyes going 6–20, the worst record only to be eclipsed by the team in 1995. Taylor also achieved seven conference titles and an impressive overall winning percentage of over 65%. Past the Taylor era, Ohio State saw Eldon Miller, Gary Williams, and Randy Ayers took the reins as head coach. Between 1976 and 1997 the Buckeyes made the NCAA Tournament only eight times, while being crowned conference champions only twice.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

baddogmaine's picture

There's a reason why Pitt, which for years has been one of THE Beasts in arguably THE beastliest conferences, does so poorly in March. Jamie Dixon does a great job of recruiting and getting his kids to play against the kind of ball they will see for most of the season, but year after year when they face better teams from other conferences the Panthers exit early. Does that mean that Pitt should fire Dixon? Of course not, there are only so many NC-calibre coaches, and you don't replace a solid winner with someone not likely to be a marked improvement.

Unlike Dixon Matta has gotten the Buckeyes some success in March. Some of that success was Xavier and Tennessee starting to celebrate too soon and blowing 20-point second half leads but still, being ready to capitalize on an opponent's weaknesses is part of success. Last year what was arguably the best team in the country won only two games in the Dance. Losing early is not part of success.

This year we have a defense that has been exposed on at east three ocassions - IL, WIS and Purdue. None of those teams is as good as we helped them look. Making other teams look good is not part of success. We have had to sit multiple starters to fouls twice - we lost to IN, we could have lost to a run-of-the-mill Purdue. That is also not part of success. Does this mean Motta should be fired? of course not. But based on our last two games we are not significantly better now than we werewhen we beat Duke.

One of the ways we are not better is that we still really only go five deep. Everyone we bring in off the bench is a drop down in some and maybe many ways. Last year we had Lauderdale who could play defense and knew how to handle pressure - 20+ games in it's not clear that we have even one sub who can contribute at even close to that level. We have more players Matta trusts to some degree than we had last year, but no one comes in without it being pretty clear that we've gone to our bench. Unless the feeling is that no one after our first five could have been groomed for success this year the fault for this lies with the coach who failed to prepare them.

Maybe we'll never need a bench when it counts, we won't know that till the season is over, but chances are we will. And chances are that an opposing coach who has better players to work with than Painter had last night will double Sullinger and Buford, ignore Scott, Smith, Ravenel, Weatherspoon, etc, and take his chances with Thomas.

This has nothing to do with whether Matta is a good coach. Good coaches do some things less than splendidly, as for intance Tressell essentially ignoring the offensive line the entire time he was in Columbus, something that rarely got mentioned while he was on his pedestal without the one mentioning it being mocked but that now is clear beyond dispute. Matta has rarely done a good job of developing his bench. As long as our first five are on the floor and clicking on all cylinders he might not need to. But an NC calibre coach doesn't expect the unlikely, he prepares for what is likely to go wrong. I'm not giving him a free pass this year until I think he earns it. We've won 20 games, a lot of schools would be thrilled with that. I thought tOSU had higher standards.

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

Higher standards? That's the point. Matta has done better at OSU than any coach not named Fred Taylor. Could he eclipse Taylor? Who knows? But save for Clark Kellogg's freshman year, Jim Jackson's sophomore and junior years, and the Michael Redd/Scoonie Penn team, OSU fans have seen a lot of mediocre (or worse) basketball since 1972 (Taylor's last good team).

That's why your use of phrases like "defining his legacy" and "have something to answer for" in past comments seem more like all or nothing. In fact, it seems to miss the forest for the trees and reflects little understanding of how hard it is to make the final four. That's what makes Coach K so amazing. And there are only about 10 active coaches with more than one final four appearance, several of which I would never want at OSU (Pitino, Calipari, Huggins, Calhoun, Fisher).

As for the drop off when substitutes come in...that happens for every team. Otherwise the subs would be starters.

But I agree that no coach is perfect. One thing I'd like to see Matta do is press teams that want to slow the pace. OSU did it very well at PU in 2010. Why let Wisconsin or PSU or Northwestern dictate tempo? But that is such a small point compared to the overall success of the program. And yes, the program is successful. The indication of that is that OSU otherwise wouldn't even get a look from a kid like Tony Parker.

VestedInterest's picture

Give it up. This guy would complain about lottery winnings paid in hundys rather than fiddy and Jacksons.

Ohio Guy in Jersey's picture

LOL. Point and match.

baddogmaine's picture

So what's your point? OSU has the second biggest athletic budget in all of college sports. Our football and men's basketball coaches are near the top of the pay scale in their sports. That is money that is not being spent to feed the hungry, house the homeles, or educate the indigent. If OSU is going tp spend that much on sports then its fans have the right to demand championships. Not just better-than-previous coaches but titles. Otherwise let's cut our budget to Indiana levels and we'll win when we win and spread the wealth where it can d some real good.

And what really is the point of posting a comment just to ridicule someone?

VestedInterest's picture

What in the name of all things holy are you talking about? You didn't just actually mystically link being a fan of Ohio State basketball and feeding the hungry, housing the homeles, or educating the indigent, did you? Please tell me your hyperbole has some point. The notion that you somehow feel entitled to demand championships as a fan of any other team not named the Green Bay Packers is quite possibly the (loss for words here) thing I've ever heard.

My post you may consider ridiculing in nature. It's a message board for posting opinions. My opinion is that your opinion is crazy...

baddogmaine's picture

Spending money on sports comes at a cost - it means other things are not funded. There is an absolute correlation between OSU's athletic budget and the plagues I mentioned. And when you spend HUGE money you can demand championships, or at least being highly competitive not just during the regular season but during the post-season as well. It doesn't always work but it works more often than not. The New York Yankees have more titles over the last 20 years than any other team because they bought them, and given their budget when the team undserperforms heads role. I understand that the Yankees budget is modstly on players, OSU's on everything but players, but the concept is the same.

I don't demand championships, I demand championship-calibre performance from our very highly paid coach. I did not mind us losing to FL in the title game, the Gators were better. I definitely minded us losing to KY last year because last year's team was better than the Wildcats, and we lost not because a Brandon Paul hit ridiculous shots with hands in his face or because the refs took over the game or a Buckeye got hurt but because a player we needed had an all-timer of brick-laying festival and MATTA HAD NO ONE ON THE BENCH HE COULD CALL ON TO SIT BUFORD FOR EVEN FIVE MINUTES TO CALM HIM DOWN, HELP HIM MAKE ADJUSTMENTS TO HIS GAME. We lost because a Buckeye went 2 for 16 and Matta could not do anything about it. And that was because either Matta had not recruited players good enough even to plug in as temporary replacement or had failed to develop players during the previous 30+ games. They didn't have to be *better* than Buford, not shooting at all would have been a replacement in the second half of the KY game. They just had to be good enough so Buford could sit long enough for Matta to coach him. The bench in that game played a grand total of eight minutes - and that includes Lauderdale's five minutes all of which came at the beginning because he was a starter. During the flow of the game the real starters sat for a combined three minutes. In thesecond half  Buford sat for 2 minutes and went one for ten. That was the ballgame.

None of this means thatr Matta is not a good coach or that he should be fired. What it means is that KY was a learning opportunity for Matta that it seems he did not learn from, since once again we have no bench that can come in when needed - except for the part that "not shooting at all would be an improvement" which was true in the KY game but likely will not be true in future games. And I and every fan have the right to point this out. And if we go into the Dance and lose in game 3 again because one of our starters does not contribute as we were expecting and we have no replacement then I and every fan has the rght to question how Matta developes *TEAM* as opposed to but five starters. Just as we now know we should have been questioning Tressell's development of the offensive line.

This is not crazy, this is analysis. Everyone is free to disagree but disagree with competing analysis. Mocking me is not analysis.

baddogmaine's picture

"Defining his legacy" is not my phrase, I never used it. And I never said that Matta would have to answer for all time for failures this year, but I do think if he again can not get a #1 seed past game three and it's not because of match-ups but because a starter shoots us out of a game or has to sit with foul trouble or injury and we have no one who can play at a competitive level then yes, I think Matta will need to explain why he didn't give his bench more experience when it was safe to do so. 

Fair or not Jamie Dixon's legacy will be a guy who could not get Pitt into a Final Four, even though his record is among the best in the country during his years at Pitt. Fair or not coaches are judged at least in part by how they do as measured against what was reasonably expected.

That subs have to be "as good as" starters is incorrect.  Three Purdue substitutes played 15 or more minutes, their subs as a whole played 78 minutes, their bench contributed 31 points and zero turnovers, and they nearly won on the road against a team that should have blown them away. If nothing else that rotation allowed Purdue to absorb 25 fouls without crumpling, while our 15 fouls nearly doomed us. Subs just need to be able to hold their own while starters are out, not contribute to an 11 point lead against a lesser foe disappearing.

The point is not whether I am proved right, the point is that for a school with all the resources of OSU to not be able to bring in subs without suffering is a sign that all is not as good as it can be and should be. If the problem is Matta's recruiting then he needs help in identifying talent after the obvious lottery picks he has done a great job of attracting. If his recruits after the first five are fine then he needs to get them in game shape by March, so that we can't get Buforded out of a title that was ours to lose. Fair or not, part of Matta's legacy (I;'m using it now) may be that he did not develop depth during his years at OSU.


LouGroza's picture

Thought Dakich had some interesting insight on Thomas. Saying he basically played very little or very bad defense. I feel confident he knows what he's saying as a former coach and he has looked at enough film in reviewing the games as a commentator. Seems Thomas is always looking frustrated after an opposing score, looking around as if someone else did not do their job in help defense. The help defense was terrible last night from the entire team. Look for other teams to bring Sully higher out top to open up the middle and draw potential fouls on him as Purdue did.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Painful to watch at times but the announcers had it right - the Buckeyes needed a tough game like this to slap them awake!  Their defense at times was disorganized and ineffective and it looked like they lacked focus!  Matta will no doubt use those moments to throttle them with during practice and get them in shape for the upcoming Spartan battle Saturday.  In the end, the Buckeyes came out with the big win and that is never bad!!!  Awesome game Buford!

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

osukdawg76's picture

As expected, Hammer and Rails immediately started using the referees as the excuse.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



SouthBayBuckeye's picture

/Purdue'd for sure.


One of my good friends went to purdue and was texting me through the game. All he could talk about were the calls we were getting.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

osukdawg76's picture

That crew last night is possibly the worst crew in the NCAA.  There is zero consistency with their calls, very little continuity between the three of them, and they are almost completely unapproachable when it comes to asking them about one of their calls.


The only thing you can count on with them is for them to be consistently bad.  Terry Wymer locks onto the ball almost every single time, no matter where it is on the court.  Larry Scriotto doesn't understand what "Verticality" means at all.  Then there's Clougherty, who I could spend an entire day bitching about and not even scratch the surface.

I, for one, welcome our new coaching overlords.



Breakawayspeed's picture

Thank you William B....you have removed yourself from my poo poo list. 

Painter did a great job of getting Purdue ready to play after the home debacle with Indy.  Alot of top ten teams would have lost to the Purdue team that showed up last night.

In the final analysis, Purdues best was not good enough to beat us.  Onward! (thru the fog)

Urban Ohio's picture

Breakaway, I agree about Will. He is the difference in getting to the Final Four. Sully really needs to man up too. Nobody likes to get beat on, but laying there, pouting, and dragging yourself off the floor isn't going to look good at the next level. Get up act like they can't hurt you.

Don't you mean, Onward (thru the smoke). Love your picture.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

Urban Ohio's picture

Is anyone on here a referee? I never played organized basketball but here's my question. Why do you call so many touch fouls away from the basket, but players seem to get hammered and climbed on the back in the paint and the fouls just don't seem to be called as often. This goes on at all levels. Also, I don't believe in the foul out rule, isn't it time to remove this? You have the authority to call technical fouls or eject a player. It's too easy for a ref to call a couple fouls on a player early in the game and his coach sits him down. Most people come to, or, watch a game to see the starters. Please don't tell me that officials are unbiased because we all know better. Home teams are called different than visitors. Don't think I'm saying this as a homer. I watch games that I have no rooting interest, and I will start leaning towards the team that isn't getting the calls.

Newcomerstown Trojans between Woody and Beaver.

baddogmaine's picture

The first one who had to sit with foul trouble was Purdue's hot hand Byrd, and their other good outside shooter also got 4 fouls. Purdue got called for 25 fouls to our 16. The reason why it felt like we were getting robbed was that when you only play five guys the fouls are likely to hit your starters, Purdue was better able to distribute its fouls over more players. Purdue's starters sat for 78 minutes an theyd lost by only three on the road against a strong team because their bench contributed. Our starters were in for all but 43 minutes and even with that amount of play from our starters we struggled against a mediocre team because our bench didn't contribute. The number of fouls wasn't the issue, the affect on the team was the issue.We are not well built to survive fouls. (In which case one might ask what Sullinger was doing at the top of the key, which is where he got two of his fouls.)

Jbuckham94's picture

Can anyone tell me why Thomas always shoots an airball on his first 3 pt. attempt?

Class of 2016. Go Bucks!