The Saints Came Marching In

By Corey Carpenter on March 21, 2009 at 11:19 am
Ronald Moore, Buckeye KillerMoore crushed the Bucks tourney hopes. (Skip Peterson: AP)

The weaknesses that have haunted them all year, were once again major factors in Ohio State losing their opening round game 74-72, to Siena in double overtime.

The taller Buckeyes allowed 23 offensive rebounds and 19 second chance points to a team that measured 6'9" and 6'6" across the front.

The Buckeyes also tied a season high with 20 turnovers, as the lack of great point guard play was evident when the Saints changed defenses on a consistent basis. I appreciate the energy and improvement PJ Hill has brought to this team all year, but with Simmons failing to show up, he was forced to play 40 minutes and that simply is not good. Thank you Mrs. Crater.

I am not going to rehash the entire game, we all watched in disbelief as the Buckeyes lost for just the 2nd time this year when leading with 5:00 left. I am still too sick to discuss specific flows of the game, knowing that Ohio State should have dominated this team if everyone would have shown up.

26 points, 28 rebounds compared to 18 points and freaking 8 boards, those are the numbers for the opposing front courts. Flopping Ryan Rossiter and Alex Franklin out hustled MullenDale all night, gaining an edge on the offensive glass, 13-1. For me, this was the most frustrating aspect of the evening, there is no excuse as to why the Saints dominated in the paint.

This BJ Mullens to the NBA talk has become a complete joke to me. I understand the situation BJ and his family come from, but if they seriously had his best interest in mind, they would advise him to stay for another year. Lee Caryer of Bucknuts put it best last week.

Athletic, 7-0 guys are hard to find; when they learn how to post-up, catch the ball in traffic, move their feet in order to make the defender move his, make a strong move and take a reliable shot, rebound consistently, intimidate on defense, pass to open teammates and a few dozen other things, they can become legends. As they learn they can help their team win games. Now, B.J. has none of those skills. He can dunk the ball if his opponent is much smaller, has forgotten to defend, or has switched to guard Evan Turner on penetration. That is the entire resume, without using the word potential (famously defined by former Texas football coach Darrell Royal as “you ain’t done it yet”).
Mullens has so much to learn yet and sitting at the end of an NBA bench will stunt his growth as a player and potentially send him on his way to a disappointing career. His totals in the post-season, 27 points and 14 rebounds or less than 7 and 4 per game.

Evan Turner was again the best player on the court, but he had little help from his teammates. Turner lead all scorers with 25 and flirted with his first triple-double, registering 9 boards and 8 assists. I know some analyst and fans feel ET has held the ball too much recently, but he has no choice. He started the game with 2 points and 4 assists, then realized his teammates weren't going to give him much help and he had to take over the scoring on his own. If he stays and the consistent help arrives, there is no doubt we will be watching an All-American season next year.

Diebler was ice cold from outside making only 2 of 11 attempts from downtown. It still baffles me that he refuses to give a pump fake and drive to the basket if his stroke is a little off. He attempted only 5 shots from inside the arc and 2 free throws in 4 post-season games.

Unfortunately, William Buford was hurt by foul trouble most of the game and it affected his shooting to the tune of 4 of 12 overall and 1 of 5 from deep, his worst percentage in over a month. He contributed only 3 boards and 0 assists in 39 minutes.

Credit has to be given to Fran McCaffery and his coaching staff. They changed defenses at least three different times in the first half, slowing OSU's offense to a crawl for the final 10 minutes. They took advantage of sloppy ball handling by the Bucks and continued to confuse the young guards with changes and pressure throughout the game.

Crucial mistakes down the stretch also hurt the Bucks. First, they made only 1 of their last 4 free throws in the final 80 seconds and didn't score a FG in the last 2:38. Second, the Bucks failed to get back on defense with 8 seconds left and Turner was forced to foul, putting Siena at the line with a chance to win it. Then at the end of the first overtime with OSU up 3, PJ Hill forgot to foul Ronald Moore in the backcourt, forcing him to the line instead of hitting the tying three pointer.

The only silver lining of this loss, we don't have to sit through a humiliating game against Louisville on Sunday. Can you imagine what their press and inside game would have done to this team? The loss will sting for a few days, but spring ball is right around the corner and according to the current poll, that is what will get most of us through the next few weeks.