There are plenty of basketball games, predictions, and other topics to write about over the next few weeks, so I won’t dwell on today’s game too long. I wrote the following paragraph on Saturday night as a part of my prediction about the B1g Championship Game, and I’m sad to say that it came true.
The game may be played on the hardwood court, but it might as well be in a ring. I expect both teams to be extremely aggressive defensively from backcourt to frontcourt. As scary as it is to say, the fate of this game could have a lot to do with the guys in stripes holding the whistles. Relax, that’s not a preemptive excuse in case things go poorly, merely an opinion that when the refs swallow the whistles, OSU wins. When they are making calls on borderline plays, then our lack of scoring depth on the bench can become a factor.
Unfortunately, the foul trouble that OSU got themselves into played a significant role in their loss. That’s certainly not to say that it was the sole reason for the Buckeyes’ loss, but the fouls put them behind the eight ball. First off, Sullinger got into foul trouble early and was forced to sit on the bench for a large portion of the first half. After that, Aaron Craft, Ohio State’s defensive guru, inexplicably got two fouls within a matter of seconds (his third and fourth) and had to sit when the game was on the line, late in the second half.
The foul calls may have hurt Ohio State more than MSU, but the Buckeyes needed more offensive production from two of its leading scorers, and it simply never came. Deshaun Thomas and Williams Buford both ended with just 11 points each. This accounted for approximately 7 less points than they normally provide, in total, which would have been enough to get OSU a nice, big trophy today.
Draymond Green did not have his best game, but his teammates, especially Brandon Wood (21 points, a season high), picked up the slack. Overall, neither team was at its best, but Tom Izzo’s team was able to get the best of Thad Matta’s crew in the rubber match. The win gave Sparty its first B1G Tournament Championship since 2000, and earned them a #1 seed in the Big Dance. As most teams have learned by now, there are three classic blunders in life, and one is trying to get the best of a Tom Izzo coached team in March…the other two are inconceivable.
Congratulations to Spartan Nation on your Big Ten Championship.
Final Score: MSU 68 – OSU 64