Who Knows?

By Johnny Ginter on March 5, 2012 at 2:00p
28 Comments
IMPERIUS REX

"March springs eternal" is both a delicious pun and an absolute truism. If, for example, you had told me at halftime of the Ohio State/Michigan State game yesterday that the Buckeyes would mount a comeback that resembled the Battle of Verdun in both grinding attrition and seemingly endless giving and taking, with one William Buford hitting a last second game winning shot with a Sparty defender in his face, I probably would've said "You've got some nerve, buddy. Getting my hopes up like that. Mean."

And really, it would've been. It had been increasingly difficult to find positive things to say about an Ohio State men's basketball team that has looked equal parts sluggish, disinterested, and uninspired for the better part of a month. Three straight losses to ranked teams will do that to you.

So when the Buckeyes came out flat against Sparty, in East Lansing, and fell into a 15 point hole with less than ten minutes left in the first half, I felt compelled to unleash this bit of internet jocularity on the world:

 

 

OH HO HO! Hilarious! Johnny Ginter of March 4th at 4:32 pm, you are surely the greatest wit of our time! Come, let us drink brandy and play backgammon while two bears attired in clothing in the manner of Kemal Ataturk wrestle for our amusement.

Of course, what Johnny of 6:35 pm knew that Johnny of 4:32 pm was about to find out is that basketball in March is barely basketball; it's a maddening mismash of elbows, chewing gum, Russian roulette, and last second heroics that outclasses pretty much every single sport ever conceived by man. In fact, it's important to note just how anachronistic the Ohio State/Michigan State game was, on a lot of levels, not simply because of the unexpected heroes that arose to possibly save the Buckeyes' season and give them a share of the Big Ten title for the 3rd consecutive year, but because of some even more unexpected statistical anomalies that reflected the ridiculousness on court.

Let's start with Evan Ravenel.

For three and a half minutes late in the second half, he was the best player on the court for either team. At no point during any of the previous 30 games had he scored significant points in a close game. In fact, the last time he even played significant minutes in a close game was on February 7th against Purdue, where he went 1-2 for 2 points in a three-point win. This isn't really an indictment of Ravenel; he's not an offensive player and no one really expects him to be, which is why those three and a half minutes were so crazy.

With OSU down 58-55 with 7:10 to go, Ravenel made a layup, got fouled, and finshed the end of an And-One to tie the game. On MSU's following posession, he grabbed the rebound, and... okay, well he missed a shot. And then fouled Derrick Nix, who made one of his freebies to put Sparty up by one. Aaannndd then he missed another shot. But you know Evan, always shooting himself out of a cold streak, and this is where things got fun.

After grabbing the rebound on a Keith Appling miss, he caught a pass from Craft and scored OSU points 59 and 60. Then on the ensuing OSU posession, he was fouled by Nix, scored OSU points 61 and 62, and on the OSU posession after THAT, he made a nifty pass to Deshaun Thomas who put in points 63 and 64 for the Bucks. 3:40 to go, and Ohio State was still in the game.

Big man came up big

3 minutes, 30 seconds. 7 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist. I don't know if when he came in for a Sully in foul trouble the 6 foot 8 Junior yelled YO IT'S EVAN RAVENEL SHINE TIME but man he picked one hell of a time to do something he hasn't done all year.

Next up is Deshaun Thomas, who had a relatively unremarkable game by his standards, only going 5-12 from the floor and scoring 12 points. Still, as with Ravenel, timing is everything. Thomas started the game going 1-8, before hitting his last four attempts from the floor, and all of them were made with under 11:41 left in the game. Though he didn't get the final, winning shot, he was open and had every chance to be the hero himself.

The guy who did end up getting that distinction, William Buford, also had an unfortunately unusual game (for him, anyway). Willy B went 8-14 for 25 points, making more field goals then he had in the prior two games combined. Also weird: whatever curse that had seemingly afflicted him on weekends was temporarily lifted. Buford had been 18 for his last 63 from the field in his previous 5 weekend games. More telling might be that in 7 games against ranked Big Ten opponents, Buford was averaging about 9.7 points per game. Not yesterday afternoon. In fact, had he not missed 5 of his 12 free throws, he might've easily tied or surpassed his season scoring high.

The win in of itself was a weird one too. Michigan State hadn't lost at home all year. According to Rob Kuntz, OSU hadn't beaten an AP top 5 team on the road since 1991. And, in the foulest tasting cherry on top that anyone could ever envision, this was a thing that happened. Good stuff. Good, weird, unexpected, stuff.

So this is the part where I tell you that this win will catapult Ohio State into the Big Ten tournament and beyond, and that William Buford will finally realize to great effect his inherent talent, that Jared Sullinger will power through whatever obstacles stand in his way, that Aaron Craft will be Aaron Craft, and hell, maybe Lenzelle will throw in a 25 point game or two to keep things fun as the Buckeyes roll toward the Final Four. Or, conversely, this is the part where I tell you that this past game was a blip, an aberration on a statistical downward slope, where Ohio State blows it in the B1Gs against Purdue and then bows out early in the NCAAs as a 13 or 14 seed takes them to the woodshed...

You know what? Screw it. There's no prognostication here, no foresight, no way to have any chance of knowing what comes next. It's March, baby, and the only way to properly react is to give up completely, go ham, and let Barney to be your guide:

28 Comments

Comments

Haters Gonna Hate's picture

Well put Johnny. That's what I love about March Madness, you can expect the unexpected and still be surprised when it happens.

"Because I couldn't go for three" - Woody

tennbuckeye19's picture

"In fact, the last time he even played significant minutes in a close game was on February 7th loss against Purdue, where he went 1-2 for 2 points in a three-point win."

 

I really liked the article, and so not to be a nitpicky d-bag, but you say OSU had a loss and a win against Purdue in the same sentence.

Sarah's picture

Fixed, thanks.

LadyBuck's picture

Well, according to quantum physics, it's true. ;)

Johnny Ginter's picture

sorry, that's my bad, writing under the influence of a kettledrum sized dose of nyquil is sometimes not preferable

BuckPirate1981's picture

ha, jeez, feel better man

buckeyefan927's picture

You know, I drank a full bottle of that stuff when I was younger, lets just say the hallucinations weren't so fun.

Johnny Ginter's picture

i mightve been exaggerating a bit but yeah i'm pretty sick. BUT NOT AS SICK AS BUFORD'S JUMPER WHAAAAAT

buckeyefan927's picture

I understand, feel better man and yeah that jumper was SICK!

Johnny Ginter's picture

thanks duder

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I don't think this team is as good as last year's by any stretch, or as good as the 2007 team, but it's probably better than the last two national champions. So it's not like it will take any sort of major fluke for the Buckeyes to win, just a break or two (such as, someone to play last year's Kentucky vs. this year's Kentucky).

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

elaydin's picture

how dare you use Mustafa Kemal Ataturk's name in vain!!

Ataturk bears do not wrestle for you!  You wrestle for Ataturk bears!

(also, those would be two handsome bears)

 

pcon258's picture

great read, im quite happy that theres not another guy throwing his hat in on whether this was a fluke or not. my fingers are crossed. 

 

zbd's picture

Rav and Buford came through. Anything is possible on a given day.  Just like in the movie:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zo-YVqV0v4Q

Squirrel Master's picture

Bucks have moved up to #7 in the AP pole. They have a good showing in the B1G tourney and looking at a minimum of #2 seed in NCAAs. They win it and UNC/kansas/missouri go down and could be looking at a #1 seed again!

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

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Yes, except the NCAA tourney selection committee completes their bracket scenarios before the B1G champ game tips off - the only exception is if a team like PSU or Minnesota wins that otherwise would have been left out.

So, if Ohio State is playing on Sunday but MSU is not, and only one of UNC/Kansas/Mizz make it far enough in their conference tourneys, they might still get a #1 - maybe.

btalbert25's picture

I see it as UK, Syracuse, and Kansas as 1's right now.

UK and Cuse are locks, Kansas, I think is very close unless for some reason they lose very early in the Big 12 tournament.  I don't know why but I just don't see Missouri pulling off a number 1.  I think that'll leave UNC, Ohio State, and Duke.  If UNC gets to the ACC title game and wins, it's theirs.  If they make it there and lose to anyone not named Duke, I think they still get a 1.  If Duke beats them it could be interesting. 

At that point I'd say can you really give Duke a number 1 over Ohio State?  Maybe at this point I could also see Mizzou sneaking in and grabbing a 4th number 1.  It could be very interesting to see who gets that 4th number 1, and it may be terribly boring with UNC blasting everyone in the ACC tournament.

They way they have been playing lately, I think UNC is going to blast everyone and get that 1 seed.  I also think they are going to win it all.  Should be interesting to see how the 1 seeds play out though.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Here's where I over-react to yesterday's dramatic win with a fanciful, ridiculous analogy . . .

Comparing apples to oranges: I remember during the 2005 football season deciding, with about seven minutes to go in the Michigan game (down 21-12), that very talented team - Troy Smith, Gonzo, Ginn, Hawk, etc. - was a bunch of underachievers who found ways to lose.

Then, Troy Smith led them on an epic comeback win, 25-21 over our hated rivals. In the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame, the Buckeyes proceeded to do their best 2000-2001 Oregon State impression. The following year, they won another 12 games in a row before . . .

Watching the 2H of yesterday's game I had similar feelings - albeit on a much more subdued level (this was only bball, after all) as when I watched the comeback versus Michigan in 2005. Time will tell how long this momentum shift lasts, if at all.

DefendOhio's picture

Look up the Buford game winning shot. After he sinks it, Buford stares down the MSU student section. You can hear a fan yelling "What the hell you looking over here for?"

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CR8yZ_WrU9s

buckeyedude's picture

I have to tell ya... I was happy for my boy, William. That video is PRECIOUS! Especially at the 1:40 second mark. I love it! The only thing that would have been better is if the Buckeyes were playing the Michelin Crapperines.

 
 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

I love it - Buford getting the last word.  Almost as good as this Buford gesture.  Can't beat the nut grab, however.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m0aWAWTFmA

Class of 2010.

DJ Byrnes's picture

I never waivered in my support of Willie Buckets. 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Hockey Buck's picture

Loved the video of the Daffy Ducks, which was exactly like the moment when Frank Drebin rubbed off Mikhail Gorbachev's birthmark, exclaiming "I knew it." Despite their rhetoric, even SCum players love THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY. You are welcome boys. Cannot wait until you win your next Hoops title in 2037.

Ultrabuckeyehomer's picture

I don't know if the win yesterday gives the team any momentum or changes anything moving forward into the tournaments ... but it was fun and I am still enjoying it.  Man what an intense game. 

As for going forward, March is just such a crapshoot and we have as good a chance as anyone to make a run at the final four.  Last year is the only year I can remember when I honestly thought we were the best team in the country - where if every team played their best each and every game, we would win the title - and it didn't happen.  Why? because we didn't play our best each game and KY got us.

So, as last year and just about every other year I can remember has proved, you don't have to be the best team to win it all, just need to win 6 (duh), and this team can beat every team in the country on a given day, and that's all it takes.  its at least exciting knowing that again, thanks to Thad, we have a chance to win a title because the talent we have is capable of beating every team we play on a given day

buckeyechad's picture

aaron craft defensive player of the year. congrats

buckeyedude's picture

I agree with your comments on Evan Ravenel. The guy has always seemed as though he aspired to be Dallas Lauderdale's successor. Don't get me wrong, I liked Lauderdale, just wished he could have scored more. Ravenel played a good game yesterday. And he can make free throws!

And how about giving Buford some love? The kid has taken a lot of shit from many Buckeye fans.

 
 

AeroBuckeye2001's picture

"Battle of Verdun"

too soon man

The Ohio State University Class of 2001
BS Aero & Astronautical Engineering

osubuckeye4life's picture

It's been said many times before and I'll say it again "you can't script March". 

 

After last Sunday and last night it looks like this team is starting to peak at the right time.

 

If they continue playing like this, I'm sure any of us could envision them cutting down the nets in NOLA.

 

Let's GO BUCKS time to take out the weasals of AACC!