That was an absolute beat-down, plain and simple. It was a perfect storm working for the Buckeyes and against the Badgers, and it started with Bo Ryan's comments after the last game between these teams.
You saw the towels and assuredly have read the quotes by now and there is no need to repeat them. After the game, OSU head coach Thad Matta said he talked with Ryan and discussed how the comments were directed as us, the media, and not at the Buckeyes or their fans.
That might be true, but he certainly did himself no favors in the weeks leading up to this game. Given at least two opportunities to clear up any confusion, he furthered the cause and gave the OSU staff plenty of ammunition to use. From a pregame video specially made for this game that ended with the phrase to those ubiquitous towels, you could not avoid Ryan's three words today.
So there was that. Then you add in the fact that it was senior day. Then toss in the fact that this was a team that the Buckeyes felt they needed to earn some revenge against. Top it off with the postgame fracas during which Jared Sullinger may or may not have been spat upon and you had a perfect recipe for a Badger beatdown.
But for all of the extra drama that surrounded this game, the home team still had to come out and actually, you know play well. And they did, shooting a season-best 68.1 percent from the field in a blowout victory.
However, both Matta and senior David Lighty were quick to point out after the game that they were especially pleased with how they played on the defensive end. Wisconsin shot 41.7 percent from the floor but never got into any real sort of offensive rhythm.
In all, this was as dominating a performance as we've seen since the Buckeyes destroyed Purdue on this court more than a month ago.
There were Buckeyes everywhere when the senior got the ball, and the combined pressure forced him to go 2 for 9 from the floor for eight points. It marked just the second time all season he had been held to single digits.
He entered the game averaging a Big Ten-leading 20.8 points per game, and his performance against the Buckeyes in Madison will go down in Wisconsin history. On this night, however, OSU would not let history repeat itself.
Along those lines, I was impressed by the defensive play of Diebler in particular. On one play with the shot clock winding down, the Badgers made an extra pass to what should have been a wide-open defender near the top of the circle.
Seeing what was developing, Diebler jumped to the front and manned up the player with the ball, who was flustered by the unexpected attention and missed the shot. Just another example of how much Diebler is continuing to grow during the back nine of his career.
I think … that there was a lot of talk after the game about how OSU is becoming a two-sport school.
I can see what people are getting at. This was a great atmosphere, the likes of which are few and far between but becoming more frequent when it comes to Value City Arena. There was genuine atmosphere here today, and it actually started last night when a number of fans spent a sub-freezing night camped outside the arena to get the best seats.
That shows that there is a sense of excitement brewing in Columbus. Now, can it be carried over to next season? That remains to be seen, and for that reason it's safe to still classify OSU as a football school for the time being.
But you have to like what Matta has brewing here.