The Turn of the Tide

By Johnny Ginter on January 24, 2014 at 2:00p
12 Comments
Get it? Aaron the White? Because he's white, see, and... ah forget it

No blame to you, and no harm done to me. Indeed my friends, none of you has any weapon that could hurt me. Be merry! We meet again. At the turn of the tide. The great storm is coming, but the tide has turned.

Last night, Ohio State was down by one with about 14 minutes left to play in the second half. The initial "we got this" buzz from halftime had worn off, and was now replaced with that hot, angry feeling that you get in the back of your head that pops up when you know you're getting suckered into a debate about something not even remotely worth your time or when the team you're rooting for looks like boiled ass.

And then something happened that has not happened often in 2014 for the Ohio State men's basketball team.

Aaron Craft stole the ball (as he is known to do), and then made a quick layup (as he is somewhat less known for). It was a simple play that Ohio State had been able to execute early and often in those fat, hedonistic halcyon days of like three weeks ago, but as of late had been few and far between.

The Buckeyes never looked back. Though the Illini eventually tied the game, Ohio State never gave up the lead, were able to make some clutch shots when they needed to, and generally looked like a competent basketball team for at least part of the time that they were out on the court. That's improvement, and however incremental, it could signal the start of something good...ish? for Thad Matta and company.

Hey, it's not without precedent!

In the 2009-10 season, Ohio State had lost three of four games, was 1-3 in the Big Ten, and was losing by 13 points to sixth ranked Purdue in West Lafayette. In the previous four games, only a destruction of Indiana proved that the Ohio State defense had any ability to stop or even slow down anyone. In a loss to Michigan the Buckeyes allowed DeShawn Sims to drop 28 points on them, the most he scored against any team that entire season.

A cool catYou shall not stress out

That Ohio State team was loaded, with players like Evan Turner, William Buford, David Lighty, and John Diebler, but the real hero of the night was somehow Jeremie Simmons, who nailed a threeball coming out of a time out that got the ball rolling, as Ohio State outpaced Purdue 22-8 in the final seven minutes of the game to steal a win against a highly ranked opponent.

The Villain scored 32 points that night, but the bigger result was that the Buckeyes righted the ship, and would go on to destroy Minnesota to the win the B1G tourney and eventually advance to the Sweet 16.

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succor of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

Another turnaround: last year, Ohio State had lost three of five and was going into a game against fourth ranked Michigan State, and Aaron Craft, he of little buckets, ended up being the decisive factor in Ohio State winning the game. Craft scored 21 points and had six assists on 7 for 12 shooting as the Buckeyes began rolling on a victory train that took them all the way to the Elite Eight.

Conversely, Michigan State soon found themselves stumbling toward the end of the season, losing four of seven and getting bounced in the Sweet Sixteen by Duke. A team that had looked like the class of the Big Ten was laid low, and a team that looked like it was teetering on the brink made it to rareified air.

In the end, basketball fate turns on a whim. The fortunes of teams can change as quickly as a seven minute run of hot shooting followed up by a win against a ranked opponent. And let's be honest; we're talking about a win over a lowly Illinois team here. The overall performance of the basketball team still isn't anything to crow about, and to my horribly untrained eye this sport is pretty much a crapshoot anyway. I mean, who knows why or how a basketball gets into the net? As far as I'm aware, it's 70% blind, random chance and 30% blood offerings to Satan.

But on the other hand, maybe this does mean something. Maybe, just maybe, after weeks of ignoring their dark pagan duties, the basketball Bucks have finally got the confidence to make a push for something greater than we thought that they were capable of. We're going to find out soon.

'It may,' said Gandalf. 'The evil of Sauron cannot be wholly cured, nor made as if it had not been. But to such days we are doomed. Let us now go on with the journey we have begun!'

12 Comments

Comments

ibuck's picture

Swish!

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

Crumb's picture

Buckeyes and Lord of the Rings, two of my favorite things!!! Crafdalf "You shall not pass!"

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

LexingtonBuckeye's picture

This was my first thought after looking at the picture. Someone needs to photoshop craft onto that scene of gandalf and put it on a poster at a game. STAT!

The Butler's picture

Basketball, more than any other sport, is one of ebbs and flows, both in game and in season. These last three weeks have been one heck of an ebb. 

skid21's picture

If only Craft was playing to the point of adoration.

Donny T's picture

I hope they turn it around, too. But let's not get all excited until we see them play a team with a pulse. Fact is, Illinois is worse than OSU. PSU is too. As bad as OSU has been, they have to beat those two. Let's talk about a resurrection after Wisconsin and Iowa. 

cronimi's picture

Yeah, and neither team looked remotely good in the first half. That was a brutal spectacle. I hope this marks a turning point, but the jury is still out.

tcm1968's picture

Still wish Thad would have 15 minutes or so a game with just one point guard on the court at a time. Let Craft sit for 7-10 minutes and just let Scott run the point and vice versa. Maddening at times watching those two play hot potato outside the arc trying to decide who is PG 1 and who is PG 1A. Neither of them is a 2 guard. Very least gets Scott some much needed PG 1 playing time to get him ready for next year. Also, there will be times this year and especially in the tourney where all the defense in the world won't win games. 

Buckeye Scottie's picture

Someone's been playing Photoshop!  Let's get MS Paint up in this piece and we can all wear jorts!

Firedup's picture

What about the most recent Final Four Team who were really rough down the stretch at home then went to MSU and turned it around for the 2nd Half and beyond?? To me that stretch was even more maddening with a 1st Rounder in Sullinger and legit scorers in Buford and Thomas. And then to turn it around on the road at halftime to spark a Final Four run? Gives me faith that when end of the season comes for tournament time, Thad will have this team right were they need to be.  

"Making the Great State of Ohio Proud!" UFM

joeorozco12's picture

Sweet Jesus do I love 11W! The best part of my day is reading these stories. And that pic of Aaron is awesome!

wyatt's picture

Great. The Buckeyes are in 7th place...............Oh sorry, that is in the Big Ten.