Friday Skull Session

By Jason Priestas on March 23, 2012 at 6:00a

Good morning, happy if not well-rested Buckeye fans. How's your vertigo from the camera angles used last night?

There are about a dozen truly great things in life. To name just a few: eating ice cream on a hot summer day, kissing someone for the first time and knocking Cincinnati out of the NCAA tournament1.

With an 81-66 throttling of the Bearcats in a regional semifinal game last night in Boston, Thad Matta's Buckeyes are back in the Elite 8 for the first time since the 2006-07 team advanced all the way to the championship game. This is just the program's fourth2 third appearance in the Elite 8 since the tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Think about that for a minute. In the last 27 years, Ohio State has three Elite 8 appearances and two of them belong to Thad Matta. Don't ever leave, Coach.

The Buckeyes were led by the one-two punch of Deshaun Thomas and Jared Sullinger on offense. Thomas finished with 26 points -- with 20 of those points occurring in the first 20 minutes of the game -- on 10-17 shooting. He now has 75 points in his three tourney games, leading all players in the field (while also averaging 8.7 rebounds per game).

Sullinger turned in another ho-hum double-double, his 16th of the season, with 23 points and 11 boards. On the other end of the court, he largely neutralized Cincinnati's Yancy Gates, holding the big to seven points on 3-7 shooting and just five rebounds, well below his season average of 12.4 and 9.1, respectively.

The emergence of Thomas as an elite offensive threat could not have come at a better time as the two are feeding off of each other at that end of the court. Last night, we were treated to unselfish passes in the paint as part of what can only be described as a blossoming offensive bromance between the two.

Thomas summed it up best in the postgame presser, saying "We've learned that teams are double teaming us and playing the right guy out of the double‑team. He seen me flashing, now they double‑teaming me, so now I see him flashing."

Added Sullinger, "I think it makes it so much easier for me to find Deshaun because nobody knows where he's at but me."

They're becoming bucket-making BFFs and that's great news for us.

Meanwhile, Aaron Craft continues to do what he does and by that I mean he's making life absolutely miserable for opposing point guards. Although he didn't register a point until the second half, Craft finished with 11 points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds.

After the Bearcats had stormed back from 12 point halftime deficit to take a 52-48 lead, the Buckeyes went on a 17-1 run to ice the game. Cincinnati committed five turnovers during the run, with three of them forced by Craft. His stellar play led to the line of the night on Twitter.

With each passing game, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year's legend grows. Gary Williams described his defense in utter amazement on the BTN's postgame, while Buckeye video coordinator Greg Paulus offered this high praise:

"He’s the best I’ve ever seen. I know Tom Izzo said after our game that he’s never seen anyone like him, and he’s coached a few games."

Our leader, indeed.

LET'S NOT BE COOL. After the game, Jared Sullinger said something that I thought was pretty interesting when he mentioned that Ohio State was really two teams:

"We've got two types of basketball teams:  We've got the cool guys and then the blue collar guys.  I thought to start the second half we got into the cool guy mode and we kind of let our guard down.  Coach Matta basically told us before we started the second half that they was going to come at us with everything they had because Cincinnati is just the type of team that does not give up.  I mean, we just came out and decided to be cool guys, and they came out and they stung us, and then we got ourselves back into another basketball game."

I think we've all seen what this team is capable of doing when they're operating in blue collar mode. It was on display in the first half when the Buckeyes were racing out to a double-digit lead and again when they put together the 17-1 run to finish off the Bearcats. We saw it during the regular season with the destruction of Duke, the pasting of Indiana at the Schott and when Ohio State thoroughly dominated Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.

Likewise, I think we're all too familiar with the "cool guys" approach. It may have first surfaced on the road in Bloomington or against the Illini in Champaign, but it was never more evident than in the 63-60 home loss to Wisconsin, when it appeared as if Ohio State was on the verge of stretching big leads on several occasions only to have it come collapsing down around them at the end of the game.

If this team keeps its pedal on the gas, it's going to be a tough out, all the way through to the championship game.

CONDESCENDING WONKA WOULD LIKE A WORD WITH YOU, UC FANCondescending Wonka would like a word with you, UC fan.

FEELING FOR WILLIE. I've gone from frustration to anger to just sadness when it comes to William Buford.

What happened to his confidence? Isn't this the same player that once pulled off one of the greatest scoreboard moves of all time after scorching Penn State on its home court? Isn't this the guy that nailed a championship three in East Lansing on the final game of the regular season?

Dating to a mid-season slump that coincided with Deshaun Thomas taking on a bigger role in the offense, Buford has been invisible more often than not. Last night was a particularly painful performance as he finished with as many points, four, as fouls, on 1-8 shooting from the field.

Matta did his best to keep Buford's confidence up, saying, "William Buford played his best defense in his career at Ohio State that first 20 minutes, and that was something that we had really challenged him in guarding (Sean) Kilpatrick," but it may take more than kind words from coach.

We keep waiting for him to get back on track, but the senior is running out of games. With Syracuse's zone defense looming, Saturday would be a great time to snap out of it.

THE ORANGE COMETH. Speaking of Syracuse, tipoff for Saturday is set for 7:05pm on CBS.

The top-seeded Orange, now at 34-2, advanced in a thrilling 64-63 win over Wisconsin in St. Louis. Despite having a chance to win the game on the final shot Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor was forced into taking a 25' three-pointer, which he promptly air-balled. Those shots only go in against the Buckeyes, it seems.

Forward C.J. Fair paced Syracuse with 15 points, while guard Scoop Jardine finished with 14 points and four assists as the Orange became just the third team to top 50% shooting against Bo Ryan's Jurassic Period defense.

Be sure to hit up Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, Orange Fuzz, Cuse Country and The Juice for opposition research.

SPARTY NO! Michigan State, the Big Ten's other team in action last night, also went down, and like Wisconsin, they went down at the hands of a Big East squad as Louisville dominated the entire way to a 57-44 victory.

Rick Pitino is now an incredible 10-0 in Sweet 16 games3, while Drew Sharp insanely claims that two straight years without a Final Four constitutes a failure and Tom Izzo can only say "WTF".

ETC: Ted Ginn re-ups with San Francisco... Minnesota's Mbakwe is awarded a sixth year... Missouri, the team that cried about its seed before getting bounced by a 15, tops the list of teams never making the Final Four... Ohio State is Gordon Gecko, Michigan University is Hans Gruber, Cincinnati is Lex Luthor and Syracuse is Keyser Soze... Mike Leach really likes the thought of a 64-team playoff for football... Utah's AG forges on against the BCS (godspeed, sir)... Wut?

  • 1 Okay, okay, maybe I wouldn't put knocking the Bearcats out of the tournament ahead of a football win against Michigan, but the point stands. Last night was awesome.
  • 2 Thanks, Boban!
  • 3 Party at Porcini!

Comments Show All Comments

Run_Fido_Run's picture

This Sully quote in this morning's CD is hilarious:

“It makes it so much easier for me to find Deshaun because nobody know where he’s at but me,” Sullinger said. “Sometimes he’s on the block, sometimes he’s at the three-point line, sometimes he’s at the mid-post area. I think Deshaun just makes me look a lot better than what I am.”

Opposing coach screams, "Damn it, boys, check that No.1 kid!" Opposing players, "We don't know where he is . . . he keeps vanishing out of thin air!"

Baroclinicity's picture

Allowing Cincy back into the game after halftime drove me crazy, but at this point, as long as we get the W, I don't care what we look like anymore.

Craft is a pest.  I love it.  6 steals... seems like it could have been more.

I've never seen anyone as efficient as Thomas inside of 7 feet or so.  Granted, one would think you would have a high percentage in that short range, but it seems like he *never* misses inside.  It's amazing.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

RedStorm45's picture

He missed a bunny in the opening 2 wide open beneath the zone I think he went up looking for D and none was there.  Could have easily dribbled once and thrown it down while pausing for some photos before that.

BrewstersMillions's picture

Boy that was fun last night. Even during their little run, I wasn't worried. OSU played a pretty lights out game save for a sloppy stretch that UC capitalized on. OSU effectivley hit UC with not one, not two, but three knockout blows in that game. They scrapped as best as their talent allowed them but in the end, OSU was just too much. If OSU continues their run at this pace, Craft is going to give Thomas a serious run for Tourney MVP.


I just hope UC fans admit last night's game was a blowout. Let's be honest here, it was only close for about 6 minutes.

cplunk's picture

It was a blowout. This UC bball fan will say it.

johnblairgobucks's picture

3 knockout blows?  hmmmm.... I saw only one.     UC fought hard, it was fun to watch.  I thought Lenzell Smith's made shots, were some of the biggest baskets of the game for OSU.

Kennywayne34's picture

"They're becoming bucket-making BFFs"

Love it


Lost nut in Michigan's picture

Last year, I thought Thomas was a selfish player, this year, I think he may be my favorite player next to the Thief AKA, Aaron Craft. Sure hoping Thomas stays another year.

Lost Nut in Michigan

buckeyedude's picture

I think Thomas, with his shooting that we've heard so much about coming out of high school, is finally getting comfortable and hitting the shots, which is helping take the pressure off of Sully, much like Diebler's shooting did last year.



cplunk's picture

Those were the worst camera angles I've ever seen!

Somebody needs to tell CBS they're not gonna win a cinematography Oscar. Put the camera at mid court and pan back and forth. That's it. Cool angles are for second looks and snazzy replays. It's not nuclear physics.

Chris Lauderback's picture

Couldn't agree more. If I want to watch the game from those angles, I'll buy a $500 ticket. Otherwise, put me in my free  owner's box at midcourt and get on with it.

buckeyenut10's picture

You say Nuclear Physics. I say my 8 am MWF :\

joel121270's picture

Yeah, that crap drove me nuts everytime they used that angle, I don't need to see it from a video game perspective or as 11W writer said from a $500 seat. I pay $130 a month for the best seat in the house with replays and DVR.

cronimi's picture

The overhead cam was so friggin' annoying. The perspective detracted from the game-watching experience. Whoever directed last night's telecast should be terminated.

buckeyedude's picture

Damn. Sounds pretty much unanimous with that freakin' camera. I think they figured if it worked in football, it would work in b-ball. Drove me nuts.



NW Buckeye's picture

The football sky cam does not use a fisheye lens (at least most of the time).  That particular lens is great for still shots.  However, it's use in live action sucks.  This is typical of CBS coverage. They want to try something new in the hopes of being a trend setter.  They certainly did not test it on live audiences.  It they had the barf meter would surly have indicated it was a bad idea. 

OHinKS's picture

At this point, Buford is the weakest player on the court. It seems that Smith is now running the plays that used to be drawn up for him. 

The best part about watching these national telecasts is hearing grown men gush over Aaron Craft.

You either are, or you're not. 

Lincoln's picture

I am so damn happy this morning

That is all.

Breakawayspeed's picture

I believe the conventional wisdom here during the season was that this team would only go as far as William Buford would carry them in the tourney.  I certainly thought so but I no longer believe it to be true.  Our fate rides with Crafty, DT, and Sully.  If those three play well, we should win out!

Craft was Amazing!  Sully and Deshawn combined for 49 points.  Wow!

jack's picture

didn't like seeing Cincy get back in the game, but it sure was nice to see everyone having their act together to pull back, pull away and then win.  Craft, that was something to watch, like a waterbug out there.  What was really fun for me was that it wasn't a one-man or a two-man show to win that game.  it was everyone.


Go Bucks!!!

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

It was everyone, and a lot of it came from hustle on the defensive side of the ball. It's like Craft became contagious.

LadyBuck's picture

This can be taken in so many ways. So many ways.

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I was feeling pretty comfortable but not 100% sure of a win at half. That 2nd half collapse had me pretty nervous. Especially after seeing all the twitter OSU smack talk at half. We seemed to have a hard time digging into that lead, had some folks in foul trouble, and my concern grew. We were turning the ball over, Buford was in his funk, the Bearcats were fired up. I know we "blew them out" but it didn't feel like it to me until closer to the end of the game.

I have been on the Sully can't jump bandwagon. He showed it a few times last night. Maybe it was my excitement, but when he blocked that shot later in the game, he looked like he soared.

And I'm tired of the Baldwin credit card commercial so much. Being accustomed to DVRing makes it hard to watch live broadcasts.

BuckeyeMark's picture

One of the downsides of MM is that you see the same commercials a zillion times in a few days.  The Baldwin commercial is bad but the State Farm dancing commercial makes me want to vomit.  It's just awful.  Maybe we should count our blessings - at least they aren't running the annoying "discount double check" ads with Aaron Rodgers.

But you'd think by the second weekend of the tourney they could roll out some new commercials...

CoachGrasso's picture

I don't see how you can mention turr-ible commericials without bringing up the abomination that is the "It started with a whisper" guy. Someone has to take that guy down - stat.

Nappy's picture

^this all day.  I wanna kick him in his red leather clad nutsack

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

buckeyeEddie27's picture

+ 1,000,000

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

acBuckeye's picture

But punch his heart-shaped sun-glasses first.

741's picture

Hahaha! So true.

NW Buckeye's picture

The worst commercial is the Chevy commercial with the hag in the front seat singing along with that horrible song.  Makes me want to puke everytime it comes on.  Can't get to the mute button fast enough. 

BuckeyeJim's picture

The commercial that drives me crazy is Direct TV. When you're unhappy, you go to happy hour, then turkish bath house and Charlie Sheen. There are several different commercials, but I switch channels when it comes on.

I like"We Go". Nice doggie.

BucksfanXC's picture

Yeah, like I want to drink a Bud Light that's been in your dog's mouth.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Nappy's picture

It's Bud Light, it wasn't good to begin with.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

what about the dish network southie HOPPAH commercial? awful.

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I was pretty concerned during the first 10 minutes of the 2H, too, but if we look at it from the (postgame) perspective of Cincy fans, it was kind of a dismantling. Outside of Cincy's 21-6 run, they lost the other 34(?) odd minutes by 30 pts.

I realize that's a selective way of looking at the game (if you take away Ohio State's 2H run . . .), but that's how Cincy fans probabaly experienced it:  6 minutes or so that felt to them like "Bearcat basketball," but otherwise long stretches of frustration. 

cplunk's picture

That's exactly what it felt like. If we'd won I'd have called it "escaped with a win" but there's nothing else to call it right now than a whipping.

Bucksfan's picture

The better team won.  The Bearcats were going to need OSU to play disrupted in order to keep it close.  It was very frustrating, but in the end, I can't complain.  OSU really has a great team.

FortMeyer's picture

Lenzelle had a very good game as well. Shot the ball like he knew it was going in. And most of the time it did!

BuckeyeMark's picture

I cannot begin to imagine how annoying Craft must be to the other team's point guard.  The guy seems to be inside your jersy, he's constantly slapping at the ball and he gets it more often than not.  Cincy had a stretch there of 3-4 possessions where they didn't seem to even get to take a shot before Craft was stealing the ball (again) and it was going the other way.  It must be maddening.

And unless you have a Craft on your team how do you get ready for that?

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I thought he was hurt after that serious hip check he took off a screen, but he drained a three shortly thereafter. I'm not sure he can be stopped.

Woody4's picture

I thought the same thing,  & honestly...  I thought Craft's defensive intensity dropped some,  after that hip check & started to wonder if he was injured & playing thru?

buckeyedude's picture

That dude for Cincy that came off the bench, can't remember his name(help me out here, friends), and swatted the ball away from Craft after a Cincy turnover...the announcers were so impressed with the way he swatted it away with some kind of authority. I knew Craft would get the last laugh.  And he did. Over and over.



spqr2008's picture

That was Jackson.  He played the best defensive game for the other side.  If everyone else on UC had played like that, they would've had a better chance.

Scott's picture

Class of 2008

Run_Fido_Run's picture

We can treat ourselves, but let's hope the "cool guys" aren't treating themselves yet.

BuckeyeBob's picture

A win is a win in March/April....but i'm glad that the Bucks got this one..cant wait till Sat!

Thad may need to have a short leash on Buford...if he doesnt 'hit' early, it may be time to ride the pine.

Oh.,..and Michigan still sucks.

jthiel09's picture

Deshaun Thomas is playing at an elite level ... he keeps this up April is going to start off great (and then end with a helluva Spring Game)!


Run_Fido_Run's picture

MSU was so pathetic that they might have done Florida a favor. Louisville was able to waltz into the Elite 8 without having to make any pressure plays to win. They're probably very confident now, but possibly overconfident. I wrongly discounted Louisville going into the tourney and they might keep proving me wrong, but now I wonder if the patient offenses of New Mexico and MSU played into Louisville's defensive strengths.

As good as MSU was this year, they were unusually sloppy with the ball (195th in TO margin); New Mexico wasn't much better. Thus, they turned it over against Louisville, couldn't run transition, and then got suffocated when they tried to score late in the shot clock. No easy baskets.

In contrast, Florida is very good with the ball and shoot the three and run transition as well as any team in the country. They might matchup better against Louisville? 

Florida's defense is suspect, but Louisville is really not that good offensively.

Lost nut in Michigan's picture

Notsure what I am more suprised about, that they did not press until the last 2 minutes or that there was onl three fires set on campus. 

Lost Nut in Michigan

Squirrel Master's picture

Hey Fido. I happily have been gloating I knew Louisville could beat Michigan State. I just felt that the style of play would throw MSU off. Plus I really do believe in the revenge factor. We talk about it with alot of teams but Pitino is straight Mafia, in thought process that is. If Pitino harbors a grudge, he will go to the Mattresses against you! I was not aware however of his record in the Sweet Sixteen, wow. 10-0 is quite the accomplishment.

Now florida is a totally different cat. they run, they shoot the 3 very well and play that full court press just like Louisville, so they know how to beat it. I think Louisville is riding high right now and they are the better oriented team but Florida has really good talent.

I think Florida finally ends Louisville's run but it could go either way. The Cards had a great season so far. Patrik Young and Beal will be too much for them. It would be a shame too because I think Louisville vs. Kentucky in the final four would be huge and Louisville could give them fits. Louisville matches up better than Florida, Florida is just that one team I think Louisville doesn't match up well with.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

Run_Fido_Run's picture

You should gloat - you (and Albert) earned it. I rarely rub it in when my teams win (in my book, bad winners are worse than sore losers), but I do gloat when my predictions come true. In this case, my predictions pertaining to Louisville were epic fail. But like the Buckeyes ("cool guys") needing periodic wake-up calls, I need constant reminders never to quit my day job.

Squirrel Master's picture

Well as much as I was right about Louisville, Ohio also but that had some alterior motives involved, the rest of my brilliant but short sighted picks are nothing to gloat about. I am not one to rub it in because I hate those people too.

Professional bracketologist is definitely not my future job either!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

I won't gloat, but I'm glad they won.  I like Louisville and have always enjoyed watching Pitino's teams play.  Dude is 10-0 in Sweet 16's, crazy.  I think they'll make the final four.  I just think Florida is not that good and have shot their wad.  We'll see. 

Funny thing, I looked at the potential for the teams coming back this year back in July.  I said Ohio State, UNC, UK, and UofL will be the 4 best teams next year.  Granted UofL and the injuries took me off that opinion, but those 4 have a real shot at being our final four.  I thought with Barnes back and UNC, Sully and Bufford coming back, the insane class UK had, and all the returning players plus good recruits Pitino had coming in, those 4 would be better than everyone else.  

The season didn't neccessarily work out that way but it would be pretty awesome if it worked out that way, and sad I didn't place a few futures bets. 

Squirrel Master's picture

The money you could have had if you bet that Louisville would make the final four would have been epic. You could have paid off the basement fundraiser!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

Yeah they other 3 wouldn't have had any odds at all, but Louisville would've been a nice pay day.  

millertime2011's picture

The one thing I like about this team right now is they're gutting out wins (zaga and cincy) that they would've let slip out of their hands earlier in the season. With cuse's zone, I think a lot hinges on WB. If we get good WB I think we can throttle them. If we get bad WB it could go the other way. I know this is what a lot of people say about most big games we have, but I think it really holds true this time.  We need someone to take the pressure off Tank outside. For some reason I feel like good WB will show up (midweek WB wasn't there last night, so shouldn't that mean we get him on the weekend? haha).

NW Buckeye's picture

Last night's win was sweet, but the win against the Zags was far more satisfying.  That was the best team on the west coast - they play like a team and are very well coached.  The same can not be said of UC.  The Bearcats have some good athletes - probably better than the Zags, but they don't come close to the team play that comes from Spokane.  All the UC fans like to think of their school as a "basketball" school.  Well, for Gonzaga, that IS the case, they are a basketball school - it's the only show on campus.  They may not be able to get the best athletes, but they get very good ones who learn quickly that it is a team game.  Barkley broke down the UC effort in the first half last night as every trip down the floor creating one on one match ups.  There was no real team concept.  They showed flashes of it for the first 9 minutes of the first half, but fell back into their individual games when the going got tough.  The Zags played as a team for 40 minutes. 

GABuckeye's picture

Great win, but they will not get by Syracuse if Buford plays the way he did.  He just looks lackluster.  He passed on a couple of threes that he normally takes.  It just seems like he's scared to take over a big game.

741's picture

I'm choosing to look at WB passing on some of those shots as a good thing - "restraint" if you will. DT is the hot hand and deserves to get more looks when he's in the zone. I think WB only took about 13 shots last night, which I am guessing is on the low side for him. I wish folks would pump the breaks on the WB hate.

I suspect there will be a game in this tourney where he needs to step up and he either will, or he won't - maybe folks ought to consider saving up their ammo for a big bitchfest if the latter comes to pass?

GABuckeye's picture

All the WB hate??  He's gone 5-11, 4-13 and 1-8 last night when we needed him the most.  The team was a much better "team" when he was off the floor.  They were better when SHANNON SCOTT was in the game.  And that dude couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat.  

Just face it - William Buford is an outstanding shooter, but right now he is either lost, his confidence is shot, or just a huge pansy in big games.  

741's picture

I just think a lot of us get too focused on what we want to see from WB "the shooter" rather than his overall role on the court. He's a critical piece of the puzzle and the team is obviously better with him (even on nights where he's not scoring a lot) than without.

From my perspective there's no reason to complain when we win in the Sweet 16 by 15pts.

I'm just glad DT and Sully were scoring, and Lenzelle made some key shots.

GABuckeye's picture

If you read my original post, I was not complaining about a victory.  I was simply stating that he can not play like that and Ohio State get by Syracuse.  I love that they kicked ass despite his poor shooting.  

741's picture

I did read your post, and my post was really meant to be general commentary relating to the many, many WB detractors - not you in particular. My bad if it came across as such.


Squirrel Master's picture

I am not a hater and always hope that Buford breaks out one of these games because to go all the way, he is very much needed. Not just for scoring but to help with his defense. One thing we did not give credit for last night is that I don't recall his man getting many looks or scoring much so he must have done something on defense that we did not see.

With that said, his scoring has been attrocious and has been a liability on the offensive side of the ball. It is pretty sad when I can guarantee he will get called for a charge at least once a game. He has no idea when to pull up and when to continue driving. He swings back and forth using picks but never uses that pick to cut down the lane to create either an open pass or draw the defense inside. He has a specific skill set, I haven't seen anyone hit that baseline jumper like he can in the whole tourney, but he lacks in other areas way too often. It may be confidence or it may be his style doesn't fit the scheme.

As it is, if we are just going to get a player who excels on defense but provides barely anything on offense, might as well bring in Thompson. He is just as good on defense and provides a bit more. Blocking! I also think Thompson is better with his passing on offense. He seems to see over top of the defense and finds the open man. Now he does make alot of mistakes as well, but with everything equal, I would prefer thompson.

It won't happen though. Buford is the senior and will get benefit of the doubt, no matter what we all think! I just hope Buford contributes to OSU winning it all!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

timdogdad's picture

seems like when buford gets off to a bad start it bothers him. and his first shot last night went in and out. kind of like the first two drives going 100 yards into the rough. i hope matta encourages him to keep shooting and say you've scored thousands of points, you can do it. i bet he'll do better squaring up against the zone. i like our chances with craft and sully doing their thing but now thomas finding spots in the zone. if bufford can hit a few to get a lead from say 6 to 9 that would be good.   

yrro's picture

Matta has always encouraged him to keep shooting. When it works, we have great wins. When it doesn't, we lose to Kentucky in the sweet sixteen.

If he's having an off night, I'd much rather he have a 3-8 night than a 2-16 one, and just settle for him playing like another Lenzelle Smith Jr. in terms of mild point production, with solid defense and rebounding.

When he's a role player, he's very good for a role player. When he tries to put the team on his back he can't manage it.

SouthBayBuckeye's picture

except for that whole "purdue game" thing....

Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Squirrel Master's picture

Lots of players hit clutch shots, doesn't make them the leader of the team or even a great player. Steve Kerr hit a bunch of great clutch shots, but he was no Jordan. Buford needs to stop thinking he is jordan because he certainly isn't jumping over anyone. More like running into them and getting a charge.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

madhatterhater's picture

The best part is craft is only a sophomore! He will be tearing it up for a while.

go bucks

BucksfanXC's picture

It was a championship caliber team I saw last night. I (and my bracket) liked it.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Maestro's picture

Heard Mike DeCourcy on the radio this morning.  He was not impressed by the Bucks last night, but was with Syracuse.

vacuuming sucks

sharkvsghost's picture

who's mike decourcy? also, that's a serious question.

swing hard in case you hit it.

Maestro's picture

Sporting News basketball writer.

vacuuming sucks

sharkvsghost's picture

thanks. i'll give him a read.

swing hard in case you hit it.

BuckeyeJim's picture

When WB sat out with the 4 fouls, OSU was better w/o him. Scott plays better D and moves the ball better, but he can't shoot either. The Bucks will go as far as Craft, Sully, DT, and Smith will take them.

buckeyedude's picture

Lenzelle Smith is a better shooter than Scott or Buford, and showed it last night. If WB is off, give Smith more minutes.



GABuckeye's picture

Lenzelle Smith is NO WHERE NEAR the shooter Buford is.

RedStorm45's picture

in the last 6 games, it's not even close.  Smith>Buford in the post-season...and get this Buford's missed 4 free throws in that stretch, Smith just 3.  

bslatco's picture

with the kind of tourny DeShaun is having there is no doubt that he will be a lottery pick in June.

RedStorm45's picture

Reminds me of the '07 Conley run...put together a few monster games in March in national TV and everyone takes notice and you suddnely become a household name and top 10 pick (or top 5 in Conley's case).

bslatco's picture

he leads all players in the tourny in points scored(74 points throught 3 games I believe).  Another big showing against Syracuse and i'll put money down that he goes in the top 14.

argyle182021's picture

My favorite Q&A from the post game transcript:

Q.  Could you talk a little bit about Lenzelle's (Smith) game tonight?  He really had a strong game.
JARED SULLINGER:  Lenzelle, when he gets going, this whole basketball team, we kind of feed off of Lenzelle.  I mean, when Lenzelle pretty much came to the huddle, he kind of spoke throughout the huddle, and I thought that was tremendous.  I think we responded off his leadership today and his defensive intensity and just his ability to get to the basket and share the basketball. 


I think it's a great sign if Lenzelle is that confident and is voicing it in huddles.  It can only be a good sign, especially with a slumping WB.


Nappy's picture

I thought after his first couple shots that he came to play.  It'd be nice to see him get on a roll and finish the tourney out strong.

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Buckeye in Athens's picture

I just hope DeShaun doesn't go pro now that he is destroying worlds..

Ethos's picture

I didn't get to watch much of hte game last night, 7 month old will put you down pretty early, but man I was so happy this morning I woke her up when I shouted when I read the line on ESPN haha

"I spent 90 percent of my money on women and drink. The rest I wasted." - George Best

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

Awesome game last night Buckeyes!!! This is the team we have been waiting to resurface after it disappeared around mid-season!!!  I seriously doubt many teams can take them out the way they played last night!

As for Buford, thanks for the four years!! Most have been positive, but right now, you are seriously hurting this team!  It is not only the horrid shooting, it is the turnovers and mental mistakes that needs to result in his butt being planted on the bench to make room for somebody that can contribute at a higher level.  His confidence is shot and he is hesitating at every single moment and that is not a good thing.

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

Squirrel Master's picture

Only going to say 3 things right now:

1. Craft is a HOSS!

2. Yancy who? Sully was a magician and made him disappear!

3. Thomas is playing way better than I thought he could. I would be surprised he doesn't declare.


Happy Friday everyone!

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

buckeyedude's picture

I am very glad the Blue Collar Buckeyes decided to show up. Loved the way the boys were passing the ball. Incredible. It was keep away most of the game for OSU, and Cinci just couldn't keep up. I saw some dirty, cheap shots on Craft with hips and elbows to Sullinger that never got called.

I also watched some of the MSU game and was amazed at how one sided the officiating was. Green was getting hacked all over and they never blew the whistle.

Anyway, here's to hoping the Blue Collar Buckeyes can show up for the whole game vs. the Oranges.



RedStorm45's picture

I was browsing around Twitter around HT and the start of the 2nd oh man did the tweets get negative in a hurry.  In hindsight, UC came out and hit 11 of 14 I believe.  They're a 42% shooting team so that pace couldn't have kept it.  Averages evened out.  D.T. may have set some records for 3's drained over him.  

Why did Thomas take 2 shots after half time? He had it straight ROLLING in the 1st half starting 8-11.  I know they went man, but UC put Parker at 6' 3'' on him.  Just post him up, no way they could have stopped him. 

Two consecutive games where the opponent makes a run in the 2nd half because the switched defense - 1st it was man to zone, then zone to man in this one.  Could be a problem if they run into a team in New Orleans who can switch defenses.  Cuse should obviously stick with their zone until Thomas exploits it.

Did anyone notice that the run in the 2nd half came with Buford out? Not a coincidence.  However, Syracuse has some size with their guards and I don't think we can get away with Scott, Craft, and Smith in the 1-3 spots.


Oh Buford...I'm no longer that frustrated.  The ship has sailed on #44.  He put up 25 and the game winner at MSU and has looked AWFUL since then.  He's now our worst starter on the floor.  

Here are some mind-boggling and depressing stats...since the regular season ended at Michigan State, the Bucks have played 6 tourney games (3 in the big ten, 3 in the NCAA).  Here are Buford's stats in those 6 games on a per game basis: 35.5 min, 11 points, on 3.67 of 11 shooting from the field, 1.5 of 4.83 from the 3 point line (2 of his 9 made 3 pointers came in garbage time against Loyola), he's 13 of 17 from the FT line in total, 1.83 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1 steal a game, 2.83 fouls, and 2.17 turnovers.

He's shooting 33% from the field since the game at Sparty (and just 10 of 32 in the NCAA tournament) and 31% from behind the arc.  He's forcing it and couldn't even make layups last night.  He's got 10 fouls and 8 turnovers in the 3 NCAA games.  Why he's still playing 35+ minutes a night is beyond me.  Sam Thompson, Smith, Scott, etc. can play defense and they will hit layups about as often, if not more than Buford.  I actually had to thank the refs last night for being the only ones willing to take Buford out of the game.

Maestro's picture

The dirty words coming out of my mouth when he turned the ball over early in the 2nd half were pretty horrific.  He drives me absolutely bat shit crazy.

vacuuming sucks

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I don't know if Syracuse ever switches out of their zone.

Nappy's picture

I was wondering the same.  Seems like we had our way with Cincy's zone last night.  I know Cuse is much better defensively, but if we start shredding them to start the game, it'd be interesting to see if Boeheim switches to man. 

I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face

Run_Fido_Run's picture

According to my faulty memory (chemical abuse?), rather than switch to man, Syracuse (almost?) always tries to make adjustments within the 2-3 zone scheme, extending it outward, doing some zone/man wrinkles, etc. But I could be wrong.

chitown buckeye's picture

Yeah, You are correct. Syracuse (Jim) only leaves the zone at the end of games when it is close and clock is their enemy. I like the fact the Buckeyes got a taste of zone last night. hopefully they will come out with some confidence against it.

"I'm having a heart attack!"

acBuckeye's picture

Its very sad and telling when I actually felt that our chances of winning last night went up drastically when Willie B got his fourth foul.

Bucks43201's picture

"Be sure to hit up Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magician, Orange Fuzz, Cuse Country and The Juice for opposition research."

haha I always find the name of that website hilarious. I've been good friends with Troy Nunes, (the former Syracuse QB), since midget league football, and played basketball and football with him in high school. It's not his website, but he gets a kick out of the playful name.

"You win with people." - Woody Hayes

Run_Fido_Run's picture

No question, Buford had a rough night, but I'll try one last time to set the record straight.

Early in the 2H, Buford had a TO, missed layup, turnover and Cincy jumped ahead 46-43 at 13:53. Buford then settled down a bit, even as Cincy continued to hit 3s.

Not to keep spamming my own comments, but here's what I noted last night (again):

I'm watching the 2H replay and as bad as Buford was up to about the 13 minute mark, after that he did get a steal, hit a 3, then found Sully on a good pass down low, blocked out his man to start a break going the other way (Sully fouled and hit both), helped cause another Cincy TO, rebounded his own miss and got fouled on the putback attempt (leading to Craft jumper), got fouled (no call) on a fastbreak but put the ball where Smith could tap it in, before he got his 4th foul and left the game.  

As part of the above sequence, Buford was actually on the floor during a 7-0 Buckeye run, in which they went from down 48-52 to up 55-52, before he went to the bench. The Buckeyes extended that run, going 10-1 sans Buford, to go up 65-53 before Kilpatrick stopped the bleeding with another 3.

Altogether it was a 17-1 run, but Buford was on the floor for almost half of that action. Not trying to convince anyone he had a good night, but it's also incorrect to suggest that "the run" all happened after (and/or because) he went to the bench.

NW Buckeye's picture

Yea, I did not even need to look at the replay to recognize that his lone 3 pointer kind of started the run.  As poorly as everyone says he played, he still played a part in that comeback.  Would be nice to have him play at a higher level, but he did recognize that he was not on early and really did his part to get the ball into hot hands when they were open.  Sometimes that comes from assists, but most often it comes from executing the offense and doing your part to occupy a man or set a screen.   

Moses Cleveland's picture


Thanks for setting the record straight on WB.

This zealousness and amount of negative criticism this student athlete has received from bloggers on this site and elsewhere, continues to amaze me.

Yes. He had a poor shooting night. We all wish Buford would find his shot sooner than later. But to say he is completely to blame for when the Bucks do poorly is not only inaccurate but insane.

This is the second time I’ve come to the defense of WB this season. One was after Ramzy’s column a few weeks ago. The next game he exploded for a very impressive 25 pts and the game winner vs. MSU. I hope that happens this week.

... ok I don’t mean to drag other players into the mix b/c I cheer for ALL THE BUCKEYES. But it consistently amazes me how fans can ignore other players faults, but ride on Buford for every mistake.

• Yes, WB had 4 turnovers. So did Craft. #Swoon
• Yes, WB shot 1/8. Craft shot 2/7 and also had zero pts until late into the second half.
• Yes, WB had 4 fouls … but how many times this year has he honestly been in foul trouble. I’d say this was the first time I can remember and he usually plays 35+ minutes a game.
• WB had 5 rebounds and 3 steals.
• All game he played solid D.

So did he have a good game? I’d say, no. But it wasn’t as awful as people make it out to me. He also contributed on some scoring plays where he didn’t get an assist. Finally, he didn’t miss “bunnies” the shots he took from inside were contested shots. That is all.


Go Bucks. Beat cuse

SouthBayBuckeye's picture



Banned from ATO since June 3rd 2PMish PST

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yes, let our Bufords go, because they are seniors.

But our Thomases are only sophomores, so verily they must stayeth on the path of rightousness.

741's picture


Thank you for putting forth some common sense on the WB topic.

(One other small stat to add to the 'good' list - he is by far the best free throw shooter on the team.)

Is it Saturday Yet's picture

I remember when he was shooting the technicals in lieu of Threebler. He was something like 90% from the stripe. I think he misses Johnny D because he was the competition for prettiest shot and it made Buford raise his game. When Buford's shot is on it is pure art. I want him to find that again, and soon.

RedStorm45's picture

Not sure if everyone gets's the past SIX games not just last night that are frustrating.  For SIX CONSECUTIVE GAMES he hasn't been efficient on offense.  33%.  Tell me one other person who would be playing 35+ (or even 40) minutes a night averaging 33% from the field as the team's "premier perimeter scorer." Especially in the most important games of the year.  Maybe I'd get it if he stopped shooting, but he's averaging 11 attempts per game.  You know how many Thomas hit of his first 11 shots last night? 8.  You get 8-11 from Thomas (and granted, he's hot right now) and you get 3, maybe 4 of 11 from Buford.  He has BY FAR the worst shooting percentage among the starters and even a few of the guys off the bench.  He's at 42% on the year, Smith is at 47% and the big 3 are all above 50%.  

4 turnovers 1 assist...Craft...4 turnovers, 5 assists.  I'd take a look at A/TO ratio there bud.

Moses Cleveland's picture

Redstorms, there’s no reason to get personal or name call with the, clearly flippant “bud.” We’re all Buckeyes here, friend.

We could go back –and-forth for hours discussing the nuances of Buford’s game and Buckeye basketball.  Instead, I’d prefer to enjoy this elite feeling for the next 36 hours.

And oh yeah, Brady Hoke is fat.

RedStorm45's picture

Maybe you should follow your own "advice."  "Bud" isn't the only term that applies there.

btalbert25's picture

Bufford was really bad for a stretch when they didn't need him to be really bad, the first half he was solid on D and did some good things.  I for one was kind of happy when he got the 4th foul and had to take the bench.  As for the rebounds and steels, I'd argue you could have put Thompson in and he would of matched the positives Bufford had in the 2nd half and may not have given the team as many negatives, like the bad turnovers and missed dunk and foul shot. 

I don't hate Bufford and I'm not going to rip him too badly, but he just wasn't good last night, and in a tournament game, getting later in the tournament against better competition, I'm completely ok with showing the guy the bench and letting Thompson get some more minutes.  If Bufford is good, leave him in, if he plays like last night, look for a spark off the bench.  Can't afford him having a horrible 5 minute stretch and cost the Bucks the game.

WC Buckeye's picture

Second half was "rope-a-thug", to me. Just wearing them down for the final KO. Good basketball.

The only thing that's new in the world is the history that we have forgotten.

LadyBuck's picture

That was definitely an interesting game last night. So, since I usually check out opposing sites, I went to the fun, fun Troy Nunes is an Absolute Magicia. To say the least, I will be enjoying their break down tomorrow night when Craft destroys their team.

As for the Willie B talk, he does a lot of things very well, but they're small so no one notices. He's a good passer, plays good defense, and can steal the ball. The threat of Buford going off or driving keeps defenses stretched out to a degree, and freeing up Sully a bit. He's a decent ball handler, and is able to bring the ball up the court in transition. While his obligatory charge per game is annoying, he's our best FT shooter. I think people are going to be missing the little things that he does when he leaves.

William's picture

I actually think he's a turrible ball handler, I cringe every time he's dribbling the ball. He is a good defender and is good at forcing turnovers, but he really needs to step up his efficiency on offense. It should not take him 12-13 shots to get 15 points.

LadyBuck's picture

I think that Will finding his niche as more a contributer than a star is more important. He needs to know when he's not on, and then do the little things to make up for it. I think everyone wants him to be something that he is not quite yet. He has always been streaky, and will always be. However, it's everything else he does that makes him more valuable than people realize. I do agree that he needs to be more efficient.

I think people expect too much out of him, and thus verbally insult and abuse him. 

RedStorm45's picture

Agree with William in William (Buford).  I like the Buford defenders saying he's streaky...what you're really saying is he's horribly inconsistent.  This team just needs him to go 5-8 for 12 points with a couple assists and a few boards.  Any more than that is icing on top.  He can't even do that.  

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

wondering..does anyone know where to get a rerun from last night? i watched the whole thing but it was also happy hour/night for me and dont' remember the full game lol

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

and ps...buford WILL show up tomorrow and be savior....mark that down

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine