The Ohio State Buckeyes may not be the prettiest college basketball team this year, but they surely are one of the toughest.
The Buckeyes ground out a hard-fought win over the Michigan State Spartans today, 61-58. The two teams like to battle and play body-up defense, and they showed those qualities today. Aaron Craft played brilliantly for the Buckeyes, and fortunately survived being hurled to the ground by the neck by the Spartans’ Derrick Nix, on a play that provoked a fusillade of obscenity and brought me out of my chair. But the Buckeyes hung tough, played through adversity, and when they needed a final bucket to put the game on ice, Deshaun Thomas stepped up and rattled down a jumper.
I recognize that conference tournaments don’t mean a lot, but I’d rather win than lose and go into the NCAA Tournament with some momentum. Ohio State has played well in the Big Ten Tournament under Thad Matta, and they are going to the championship game again — which seems to be an annual occurrence. Win or lose tomorrow, and in the Big Dance, this team has come an awful long way since Wisconsin beat the tar out of them a month ago. Ironically, the Badgers are the team the Buckeyes will face tomorrow, in the final contest of the Big Ten season.