The talk now immediately moves on to Kentucky, and I confess that I have not seen enough of the Wildcats to be able to talk at length about how they match up. I have, however, seen ever second of OSU's season and thus feel qualified to discuss what they do well.
The answer is just about everything, and instead of worrying about what the Wildcats can do to the Buckeyes, fans need to start realizing that it should be Kentucky fans worried about what OSU brings to the table.
I think it is hard for Buckeye fans to reconcile themselves to that fact. It's not in the DNA. OSU reached the Sweet 16 last year with the national player of the year while appearing to be running fumes thanks to a non-existent bench. Four years ago, a run to the title game came largely under the shadow of a senior-laden Florida team destined to repeat as champions.
As a kid, I remember a late-90s run to the Final Four that seemed to catch most of the nation off guard. To me, it felt like more of a Cinderella run than a heavyweight punching his way to the top.
But make no mistake about it: at this point, the Buckeyes are the national heavyweights. The favorites. The ones who by all appearances right now could be cutting down the nets in Houston in two weeks.
This year's team is now 34-2. Those two losses came on the road against the other top two teams in the Big Ten, and it took career performances from two all-Big Ten players to propel their teams to the upsets. On OSU's home court, the Buckeyes coasted easily against those same teams.
How will Kentucky match up with them? That is the question that should be asked, and will remain so as the tournament goes on and the opponents change.
I think … that if there is one concern to be taken out of this game, it is the fact that the Patriots were able to get off a number of open shots in the paint.
More than any team I have seen since OSU faced Purdue on the road, the Patriots were able to open the game by getting close to the basket and converting a high-percentage shot. A number of those field goals came when head coach Thad Matta still had Jared Sullinger and Dallas Lauderdale on the court at the same time.
To OSU's credit, it figured out what GMU was doing and put a stop to it as the half went on. That coincided with the momentous run that put the Buckeyes ahead by 26 points at the break.
However, the Patriots opened up the second half again with some pretty good looks in the paint and managed to keep the Buckeyes from extending the lead much for the opening minutes. Again, however, OSU figured something out, made an adjustment and closed up shop in the paint.
In the end, it was obviously not nearly enough to keep the Patriots in the game. Against a team with more talented bigs, however, it might be.
I think … that no joint will receive more unneeded attention as the tournament goes on than Jon Diebler's right pinky finger.
The internet was abuzz with worry Friday night and most of Saturday as the sharpshooter was spotted with a bag of ice on his right wrist while leaving the arena. It was one of the first questions asked of him during interviews Saturday, and he quickly downplayed it.
Diebler has been dealing with an injured pinky finger since the opening of the Big Ten tournament. In the overtime win against Northwestern, he had a band of tape around the wrist because he had injured the digit during practice leading up to the game.
The following game, the tape was gone but a little wrap was on the joint. As his performances have shown, it has had absolutely no effect on his shooting.
If you see a bag of ice on Diebler's digits, assume that he is fine and move on.