All year long we have heard about how Greg Oden will be the next great center to enter the NBA, and this was never truer than it was tonight. This night, in his definitive and probably final performance in the NCAA, Greg Oden clearly was a man amongst boys.
Unfortunately ... the boys were on his team.
The numbers will show a great game by a player that was not really challenged tonight. He will have 20 something points and someteen rebounds accompanied by a bunch of blocked shots, but none of this will show how one man dominated a game in a losing effort. If it were not for Greg Oden, Ohio State would have lost this game by eleventy billion points instead of nine.
Tonight was crunch time, and when the Buckeyes needed someone, anyone to step up no one was able to answer the call. Conley, normally a cool character, could not maintain his composure early on (when the Buckeyes needed him) and he committed several key turnovers. Ron Lewis did not realize that although Corey Brewer is much taller than he is, that he could take him to the rim. Jamar Butler was not effective and no one could hit a three. In short, the Buckeyes were tight, and I am pretty sure that the folks at the Georgiadome are going to be presenting Gene Smith with a bill for two new rims.
At one point in the game, Ohio State was 2-19 from behind the arc. That is ASTONISHING. It is also further evidence that they were tight. Outside shooting and indecisive passing (which was also a bit of an adventure in the first half) are the surest signs of an impending pressure-induced collapse. The Buckeyes needed someone, anyone to step up and help Oden, but no one responded.
Oden is the best big man I have seen in college hoops in a long time, and apparently his offensive game is much further along than most would have thought. Even still, I could help but sit back in absolute bewilderment, Greg Oden outplayed the entire Florida frontcourt and single-handedly put them all in foul trouble. It looks like the Buckeyes finally figured out how to feed the ball to the big man down low in typical Cleveland sports style, in his last game at Ohio State . I hope he will come back, but I doubt it, why would he or why should he? I can think of no good reason. Is anyone still wondering if Kevin Durant is a better pick at #1?
Lady luck conspired against Ohio State continuously throughout the game. How many serious rejections did you see that ended back up in Florida’s hands? Worse yet, to their credit, Florida always seemed to parlay their good fortune into points instead of a Buckeye Break going the other way. That is a 4-5 point swing on every rejection, OUCH!
Alas I will mope no more, instead, I will heartily congratulate the Florida Gators on a fantastic game. They did everything Ohio State did not do; get to the loose balls, make the clutch shot, and maintain their composure. In my preview, I predicted another Taurean Green turnoverfest, but it did not happen. Green played a great game and I cannot say enough about Lee Humphrey’s outside shooting.
Every time Ohio State would close the lead to six or seven points, Humphrey would deliver the backbreaking, clutch three-pointer; the one that Ohio State desperately needed on the other end.
Corey Brewer was probably the most important player on the floor in that game. He played exceptional defense and never fell short on effort on either side of the ball. I would love to see him in a Cavs jersey, but the Cavs don’t have a draft pick until 2347. I guess we will have to deal with Donyell Marshell and Amon Ones.
Now that Buckeyes hoops season is over, I guess I'd better get cracking on football before Swerb breaks my other thumb (he doesn’t like it when I miss deadlines). Can you believer that there is only about 150 days until football season? I think you all will be pleasantly surprised by the 2007 football Buckeyes but those are articles for a different day. Right now let’s celebrate a terrific season and a terrific program/Athletic Department. I am not a person who validates losses, but second place in football and basketball is pretty damn good. Sure, Florida finished first and first, but as my father always said, “If you spend your whole life looking for the success of your peers you will never find your own happiness.”
Thanks for a great season, thanks for reading, and Go BUCKS!