Now that my heart palpitations have subsided and I’m able to actually take a deep breath, regain my composure, and put a few thoughts together, it’s time to dive back into yesterday’s exciting game. As I stated, I’m not sure that my heart could take another detailed run-down of this game, but I will instead go back and take a look at the predictions that I made before the game to see how they turned out. The predictions, which were posted Sunday morning, are listed in black, and the outcomes are printed in red.
- There will be more than 106 total points in this B1G battle. 106 was the total (58-48 MSU) when these teams met on February 11, in a game that most Buckeye fans wish they could erase from their memory banks. MSU took the lead and manhandled the Bucks all game, completely squashing any appearance of an offense. I am predicting 128 combined points in today’s matchup. This is by no means a run and gun shootout, but certainly a higher output than your average women’s high school game, unlike last month.
My prediction of a total score over 106 points was essentially the equivalent of saying that someone would eventually throw a changeup in a full, 9 inning baseball game. I wanted to make sure that I got off to a good start, assuming that the offensive output simply had to be better than it was in the first meeting. Although there were dry spells for both teams, they certainly put up a higher total, and even blew my 128 point total prediction out of the water by posting a 142. 142 is over 106, so I’m going to be greedy and take this as a win.
- Jared Sullinger and Draymond Green will both have double-doubles, with Green getting the slight edge in points production and Sully beating him in rebounds.
Both “star players” in yesterday’s game did, in fact, end up with double-doubles. Sullinger finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, while Green had 19 and 12, respectively. I’ll take a win for predicting that both would have double-doubles, but a loss in that Green outrebounded Sully in the game.
- Sullinger will be harrassed and mugged underneath, as he was in Columbus against Sparty, but he will cut his turnovers in half (to 5) from the first meeting and cut his whining after the play significantly down (roughly 33% less whining).
I predicted that Sullinger would be hounded all night, which he was, and that this would bring his turnovers from a whopping 10 in the first meeting, to a mediocre 5. Instead, Jared protected the ball well, even when he was having trouble hitting the broad side of a barn with his shots early in the game. He was able to survive the battle underneath with just 1 turnover on the day. I’ll take the loss on this prediction, as he was able to exceed my expectations and eliminate 90% of his turnovers. However, I will take the win on his reduced whining, since he rarely so much as pouted during yesterday’s performance, despite things like THIS being called for fouls.
- Aaron Craft will force Keith Appling into at least 5 turnovers, again, but Appling will still finished with 12-14 points. Craft, meanwhile, will end the game with under 10 points.
Craft only forced Appling into 3 turnovers, and although it felt like KA had put up roughly 40 points, he was held to just 11 for the day. I’ll take the mild prediction loss on the number of forced turnovers, but the win on Craft scoring 9 points, which is still less than 10 by most counts.
- Adreian Payne will NOT lead Sparty in scoring today or shoot 100% from the field. However, he will play a significant role in keeping Sparty even with the Bucks for most of this game.
Payne was a human 50% from the field yesterday, was 5th on the team in scoring, and was very heavily involved both offensively and defensively (4 blocks), so this prediction is a big win for me.
- William Buford will lead the team in scoring today. Let me repeat that, WILLIAM BUFORD WILL LEAD THE TEAM IN SCORING TODAY. Willy B has been ice cold against most of the top teams in the Big Ten this year, but will get plenty of good looks today when Sullinger becomes more patient and dishes the ball out to him, a la Sully/Diebler last season.
My favorite of them all! Slick Willy came through and earned himself a huge “Thank You” from all of Buckeye Nation. He had taken his struggles very personally, as of late, and was carrying the team on his back with his shooting in this game. He finished with 25 points, almost 35% of OSU’s total, and his highest point total against a ranked team all year. In fact, his 25 points equalled his output against the last 3 ranked teams combined (4 vs MSU, 6 vs UM, and 15 vs Wisconsin). Congrats, Mr. Buford…and thank you for giving me this prediction win, as well.
- I predict that Jared Sullinger will have a happier birthday than Draymond Green. Although they are 2 years apart, both Sully and the probable B1G Player of the Year, Green were born on March 4. (Unrelated…Chaz Bono is also a March 4 bday…FYI)
I can’t speak for what Draymond Green did after the game, but seeing as he went from lone Big Ten Champ to sharing the title with arguably his 2 least favorite teams in the conference, I’d say he was less than pleased after the 40 minutes of game time. Sullinger, on the other hand, may have done worse in the stat column in this second game against MSU in all but 1 noticeable category. However, when that category is turnovers, and you improve from 10 to 1, then it came make a world of difference. If I had to rank birthday happiness yesterday, I’d say Jared Sullinger, Chaz Bono, and then Draymond Green. I’ll take that as a prediction win.
- FINAL SCORE = OSU 66 – MSU 62
My score was a bit low, but I’ll take it. Congratulations Buckeyes!