Nobody said the Big Ten schedule would be easy. After losing on the road to Michigan State we were rewarded with a road trip to Columbus to take on an Ohio State team that seems to be hitting their stride as the calendar turned to February.
Ohio State struggled earlier in the year after losing David Lighty to a foot injury. But this team is playing much better and playing together very well. Tonight was a perfect example of their recent team play. Evan Turner led the team with 18 points and 10 rebounds but he only shot 4/14, getting most of his points from the FT line. After Turner the Buckeyes had four other players in double figures including William Buford who I thought was particularly impressive. The freshman has been averaging 16 ppg since their loss at Minnesota in early Janauary, with only one game scoring in single digits.
But from the perspective of the Gophers we did not play well for the second game in a row. Offense has once again become a serious issue. We have a number of guys who do one thing well offensively but we really do not have anyone who is a multi-dimensional threat. A good example is Hoffarber being a great shooter and Nolen can penetrate, but neither can do both very well. On offense we have a collection of good role players. Defensively their identity has been playing great defense together. For this they are well suited, but the offensive struggles continue to be an issue.
The lack of scoring in the half court was accentuated tonight by the uncharacteristic amount of turnovers. You will not win very many games regardles of opponent or location when you have 17 turnovers. There were times when I wasn't thrilled with our defense but the 17 turnovers was the difference in this game. We rebounded well enough to win and FG% was relatively even, but we gave them the ball without getting a decent shot WAY too many times.
Despite the loss the most encouraging take away from this game is pretty clear. Hoffarber finall broke out of his slump shooting 6/10 from behing the arc and single handedly keeping us in the second half. The kid was hot, he was taking his shot at every opportunity and his teammates were looking for him. This was encouraging and should help us in our final seven games.
- Steve Smith was the color commentator for the Michigan State game and Jimmy Jackson was the color man for this game. Can we get Isiah Thomas or maybe Randy Wittman to do color for the Indiana game next week?
- Carter was very raw tonight. He was showing some athleticism but was not refined in his offensive game. I'm really not expecting much from him this year but mark my words that he will be the most improved player on the team next year.
- I am very familiar with the ebs and flows of the basketball season. I fully understand that we will have rough stretches, but thank God for Indiana coming to the Barn. It feels like this team may have peaked with the Illinois win. Fortunately there is plenty of time this season to see some improvement and get things back on track as we head into tourney time.
- It was nice being ranked for a while there is no chance we'll be ranked come Monday night.
I've got nothing else, PJS is the master of post game recaps. I was just pissed the final 30 min of the game as I watched unforced turnover after unforced turnover. That to me was the story of the game. But lets move on and forget about this little road trip. Bring on Indiana to get things right before we head to Penn State and Michigan for a couple more key road games.