Monday, February 26, 2007


Maybe "3 yards and a cloud of dust" is supposed to be a football analogy, but once again we saw that it works almost as well for Big 10 Basketball. The most recent example: the 49-48 survival of my beloved Buckeyes over those equally scrappy Badgers from Wisconsin (hats off to you guys, and I hope we never see you again this year). I was relieved on a couple different levels after that game. Sure, it was nervewracking watching Ohio State blow that 8-point 2nd Half advantage and spend the last few minutes crawling back from behind, but there was something far greater on the line than that or even the regular season conference championship. The young Bucks have finally beaten one of the big boys. Granted, it was at home, but they had to have this one more than any other squad I can recall at present (although it is late right now; maybe I'll come up with something by morning).

Three times this season, Ohio State has gone into the lion's den, and UNC, Florida and Wisconsin all chewed them up and spit them out. After Sunday's brutal contest, however, I think it's safe to say that the shell of this team has hardened enough to resemble its namesake. Make no mistake, this group is still a work in progress, as evidenced by a few sloppy passes here, a few Greg Oden travels there and of course that helter-skelter sequence with about 45 seconds to go trailing by 1 that at the time I was 95% sure had cost them the game. To their credit, however, they collected themselves enough to pounce on the opportunity provided by Wisconsin's Kammron Taylor missing the front end of a 1-and-1. Then, Mike Conley Jr., who continues to improve every time I see him (although I wish he'd inherited a little of his dad's jumping ability; dunks would have looked really nice at the end of those couple of runouts he had), made a clutch runner in the lane. Last, but certainly not least, there was the monster block by senior leader and erstwhile bunch scorer Ron Lewis. If the Buckeyes end up the year cutting down the nets at the Georgia Dome, I think we'll look back on those final minutes as the catalyst, because it was a convergence of so many things crucial for a young team: finally getting that first top-quality W, clawing back from a late defecit after blowing the lead, winning a hard-fought defensive struggle in the final 15 seconds, having the freshman floor general take over when he was needed most and seeing the veteran leader simply refuse to let his team to go down.

On an unrelated note, is anyone else getting tired of any reference to the 1962 team (the last Buckeyes to end as AP #1 and the last to play for the NCAA title) ending with "and a sub named Bob Knight" and the like? I've seen it at least half a dozen times this year. That is all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've seen it at least half a dozen times this year.

4:57 PM  

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