Rushed Reactions: #10 Ohio State 71, Nebraska 50Posted by WCarey on March 15th, 2013
Walker Carey is an RTC correspondent. He filed this report from the Big Ten Tournament at the United Center following Friday’s matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska. You can follow him at @walkerRcarey.
Three Key Takeaways.
- Ohio State is definitely peaking at the right time. Thad Matta’s squad suffered an embarrassing 22-point setback at Wisconsin on February 17 and since then, it has been a different team. The Buckeyes entered the Big Ten Tournament on a hot steak, as they had won their final five games of the regular season. During this winning streak, the Buckeyes notched their signature win of the season by going on the road and defeating Big Ten champions Indiana in convincing fashion. That hot streak continued Friday in their quarterfinal victory over Nebraska. It is always a good thing in college basketball when you play your best at the end of the season and it sure seems like that is the case for the Buckeyes right now. If Ohio State is able to continue its strong play, it has a legitimate chance at winning the Big Ten Tournament and there is no telling what its ceiling might be in the upcoming NCAA Tournament.
- Ohio State’s experience is quite evident. The notion that only experienced seniors can hold leadership roles is a common misconception that exists throughout collegiate athletics. Take Ohio State for instance – Reserve big man Evan Ravenel is the only senior on the Buckeyes, but the team does has several experienced contributors. Juniors Aaron Craft, Deshaun Thomas, and Lenzelle Smith Jr. were all starters on the Buckeyes team that reached last season’s Final Four. Both Craft and Thomas have been playing major roles for the team since the day they stepped foot on campus. The experience and leadership of Ravenel, Craft, Thomas, and Smith Jr. has provided players like LaQuinton Ross, Shannon Scott, Sam Thompson, and Amir Williams with a calming presence as they continue to develop their games. Experience is definitely worth something in March and that is good news for Ohio State.
- While it finished its season at 15-18, Nebraska basketball is headed in the right direction. There are never really a lot of positives a team can take from a losing campaign, but Nebraska can definitely draw some at the conclusion of Tim Miles’ first season in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers fought hard to the very end of the season, which was evident in its upset win over Purdue in the first round of the tournament. Nebraska does not possess an illustrious basketball history, but Tim Miles is looking to change that. The Cornhuskers should be much improved next season as they return three starters in guard Ray Gallegos and forwards David Rivers and Shavon Shields. Nebraska fans should be especially excited about Shields who has definitely turned some heads with his play in his freshman season.
Star of the Game. Sam Thompson, Ohio State. The sophomore forward set a new career-high with 19 points and looked very good doing so. Thompson scored his 19 points on a very impressive 8-of-9 shooting from the field. Craft and Thomas rightfully grab a lot of the headlines for the Buckeyes, but if Thompson can repeat his performance from Friday, the Buckeyes might just have a star in the making.
Sights and Sounds. Ohio State and surprisingly, Nebraska were both well-represented at the United Center. When the Cornhuskers got out to their fast start, their contingent was very loud and raucous. After Ohio State took control of the game early in the second half, the entire arena went quiet except the Buckeyes’ student contingent in the upper deck. If you were looking for a great college hoops tournament environment, this game was probably not what you were looking for.
What’s Next. Ohio State advances to the Big Ten semifinals where it will face the winner of the Iowa/Michigan State game.