Sleepwalking Buckeyes Draw Butler's Ire

By Chris Lauderback on February 3, 2008 at 10:07 am

I'll admit it. Due to a work function and no BTN at home to record, I missed the 53-48 loss to Iowa breaking at least a 10 year run of 'perfect attendance'. It sounds as if I picked a good time to go AWOL.

The highlights and box score show the Buckeyes didn't help themselves shooting 37% from the floor including a Ray Charles-esque 3/21 from long range but the post game comments from Jamar Butler tell a more important story. For the first time in the Thad Matta Era, there seems to be a problem with motivation. At this level, how on Earth can guys not be ready to play intense basketball every night?

The ever quiet Butler wondered the same thing and was pissed enough to share that in the post game which is cause for alarm in and of itself:

"Guys weren't ready to go from the (opening) tip," said Butler, who has started on two straight Big Ten championship teams. "I could look in guys' eyes and just tell we weren't ready to go."

One more shot across the bow:

"I don't know if it's possible to win the Big Ten now, but if they care about playing in March, they better pick their game up," Butler said of his teammates.

"The potential is there, but guys aren't mentally tough. They don't have it upstairs yet. Me and (Matta) talk, and we don't know what we can do to get guys ready to go night in and night out. Some guys are ready to go and some guys aren't."

Bob Baptist captured a few more Butler daggers that are worth a glance. Typically, I would be against these comments but Butler's the leader and the rare display of emotion might actually help. Of course, some of his rant is likely due to frustration with his own performance as he knows the team can't afford him to have an off night, especially on the road.

With 9 league games left, the Buckeyes need to make up for last night's black eye to the Dance resume. That won't be easy considering the quality opponents bunched together in the last 5 games including just one day off in between Wisky and at Indiana thrown in there. I still say this team should be Dance worthy but the time is now. What do you think? Will the Buckeyes secure a bid?