One concern has to be the free-throw shooting. I realize that a 15 for 23 (65.2 percent) effort from the charity stripe is not the end of the world, but a few more of those baskets would have gone a long way toward giving some more breathing room for the Buckeyes. Head coach Thad Matta said he liked the players who were going to the line in clutch situations and history shows that they will likely come through the next time they are called upon to do so.
Still, OSU can ill-afford having Jon Diebler go 1 for 3 from the line and miss the front end of a one-and-one situation. History is on Diebler's side, however, and I was impressed with his defensive efforts against the Golden Gophers.
Junior guard William Buford continues to be an enigma. With his team clinging to a 60-51 lead that felt much closer than that, Buford came down and jacked a contested three-pointer that was in no way within the flow of the offense.
Afterward, Matta said Buford asked him if it was a suspect shot and Matta appeared to be on the verge of swallowing his tongue as he attempted to give a response. That is simply an unacceptable shot from a player who is expected to know better than to take those kinds of shots at this point in his collegiate career.
For the game, he was 3 of 11 for nine points.
A had a number of followers on Twitter telling me as the Buckeyes struggled to hold on that the game reminded them of the football team's victory against Arkansas, a game in which OSU barely held on for a thrilling victory.
Not exactly the best way you would like to describe a game in which a team was leading by 18 points in the second half, but Matta has to hope this is another teaching tool for his youngsters. As he said after the game, he prefers to teach from wins rather than losses.
I think … that while there was plenty of bellyaching on both sides of the ball – much of it justified – it was clear that at times the pressure was getting to freshman guard Aaron Craft.
Although he hit the seven-assist mark for the seventh time this season – with seven – he had three turnovers and four personal fouls. I noticed on a number of occasions that as he brought the ball up the court while being pressured, Craft was pushing the defender away with his free hand. That is about as close as you can get to an automatic call, and he was whistled for it at least once in this one.
Craft has proven himself to be a key contributor and a heady performer. All I am saying is that he is not Mike Conley just yet.
I think … that a tip of the notepad is due to David Lighty for recording victory No. 111. A look back at his career reveals a number of incredible moments, both good and bad. It is hard to believe that he was a freshman playing for a national championship before winning an NIT title as a sophomore, breaking a foot and reaching the Sweet 16 as a junior.
Off the court, Lighty is one of the happiest players I have ever covered. Congratulations to him.
I think … that this was a huge step backward for Dallas Lauderdale, who was a non-factor against Minnesota. Limited to 15 minutes due to foul trouble, he did not attempt a shot from the floor and missed two free throws in the final minute. Either one could have pushed it back to a two-possession game.
In addition to his three fouls, he added two turnovers and one rebound.
However, I was impressed with the play of his counterpart, Jared Sullinger. The big guy had 15 and 12 and likely would have had a triple-double if floorburns were part of the box score.
I have never seen a player with his size hit the court chasing after loose balls so much in one game. You could clearly see how important this game was to him and he raised his level of play accordingly even when the opponent was doing everything it could to limit his looks.