Is it a coincidence that Oden is an alternative spelling/pronunciation of Odin, the supreme god and creator in Norse mythology? Probably, but yesterday, Greg Oden clearly proved again (in case anyone forgot) that he does belong in the pantheon among this year’s college hoops gods.
In leading the Buckeyes to a fourteenth consecutive victory yesterday, Oden carried his team on his back across the finish line. He dominated the second half against that school up north, and was a force on both ends of the floor. It's clear that his right hand is healing and he is using it more, and it is scary when we remind ourselves that he still is not 100%. Remember ... this is the same guy that said he could barely make a left-handed lay up when the season started. He ended up shooting almost 70% with it from the foul line this season, and also developed a very nice mid range baby hook with it as well.
The fact that Oden is a great player capable of carrying his team is hardly news worthy, but what is news worthy has been the reemergence of Ron Lewis. In his last two games, both against Michigan, Lewis has put up sixteen points in each behind good shooting days. Unfortunately, Lewis is still trying to do it from the outside. Where has the dynamic, take your ass to the hole Ron Lewis we saw all year last year been? As nice as it was to see him toss 16 points up and shoot the ball well, it would be nicer to see him get back to getting to the rack.
Speaking of getting to the rack, what in the heck has happened to Daequan Cook? Cook has only scored in double digits in two of the Buckeyes last nine games. This is the same guy that many were projecting to be a mid first round NBA selection THIS YEAR based on his first fifteen games at Ohio State. Now, I think it is a pretty safe bet that he will be back next year. The Buckeyes will need him to find his game in a hurry if they are going to make a run. Let’s face it, the team that scores the most points wins, and Daequan Cook is one of the guys the Buckeyes are going to need in order to make a serious run at a national title.
Mike Conley also carded another impressive game in yesterday's win over Michigan, scoring thirteen points and recording six more assists. Conley was a terror on the defensive end, and he continues to demonstrate that he may have the best first step in the entire NCAA.
For the most part the Buckeyes looked good for the entire game. They were a bit slow in the first quarter but they really seemed to get into an offensive rhythm in the second half. Hopefully the Buckeyes can carry this momentum forward into their game against Purdue today.
Speaking of the Boilermakers, they put an impressive pounding on the Iowa yesterday. This is a talented team that knows that they are not in the tournament yet. Today’s game is a dangerous one for the Buckeyes because the Boilermakers know that if they win, they are in. If they don’t ... they will be at the mercy of the selection committee. A dangerous game for sure, but just what the Buckeyes need as they prep for the Big Dance. There is no question that they will get Purdue’s best shot, I hope they are ready.
And lastly, special thanks to TCF reader (and apparent perfectionist and OCD sufferer) Bob Meterko for pointing out that I did actually miss the final score of yesterday's Wolverines game by one point. His exact comments, “Your prediction Ohio State 72 Michigan 61. Come on man get it right!.” I would like to point out that I am having my magic eight ball recalibrated, and it will not happen again. Thanks for the Email Bob, and keep reading!