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RoboBlog: Live from the Big Ten Tournament (Finals)


On a cold and soggy day in Indianapolis, the afternoon looked hopeful for most of the Midwest-- and indeed most of the country; but everyone inevitably ended up shaking their heads,

mumbling under their breath-- "Will Ohio State please %@#$ lose something for #@$@ once?"

Yesterday Minnesota only had to play half a basketball game to beat Purdue. 33.3% regular season conference champion Ohio State had to play two overtimes and come back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat Illinois less than 24 hours ago.

Under normal circumstances, Evan Turner could outscore Minnesota by himself. It seemed that he may have to, as many of his teammates were content to watch him dribble in circles around the Minnesota defense. The contest might have been decided by the availability of oxygen tanks on the OSU bench.

In the early minutes, the Buckeyes looked like a team that played two overtimes four hours ago, never mind 24. Sharpshooter Jon Diebler air-balled a wide open three. A heavily red-and-white-clad-crowd is helping their enthusiasm, but they look sloppy, putting up just four points in the first five minutes.

An offense limping at that pace won't get it done in the coming week, but it figured to against the Golden Gophers.

Surprising Ohio State trivia: every player on Ohio State's roster is from the Midwest (except for two players-- one from Greece and one from Serbia). The Gophers are far more regionally diverse. A school with a reputation for a professional-style athletics system is mostly homegrown, while the underdog does far more nationwide recruiting. That could just be a product of necessity, rather than means though.

It wasn't until there were three minutes remaining int he first half that suddenly, without warning, a basketball game started. A breakaway dunk by Diebler and a pair of field goals later, the crowd came to their feet. However, a buzzer-beating three-pointer by the Gophers closed the lead to three points heading into halftime.

Yesterday's half-time Dick Vitale Impersonation Contest is not a difficult act to follow, but the Asian lady that catches plates while on a unicycle is performing and it is--dare I say--magical.

It took two minutes of the second half for OSU to open up a short-lived 11-point lead. But Sunday afternoon's battle for the Midwest was one of short fiery bursts, followed by extended periods of lull, and Minnesota slowly clawed their way back into the game.

It didn't take long for another flash of life from OSU to light up the scoreboard and reclaim their 11 point advantage. Hasty shot selection and OSU's speed was their undoing.

It seemed as if Oho State was conserving their energy on defense until it got close, then suddenly exploding with all their weight and speed to force turnovers and bad shots.

It took less than three minutes for a four point lead to become a 20 point lead, and it would only get worse. Guess we'll have to wait 'til next year to hope that Ohio State @#%@#% loses something for @#$% once.


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