What else can you say? The Buckeyes have beaten five ranked foes and three of those games came away from the friendly confines of Value City Arena. Last year, a key factor that held a 19-13 OSU team back from the tournament was the team's lack of a quality road victory. This year, the Buckeyes have three and they are playing some of their best basketball of the season.
This team is hot right now and headed into a much-needed break. The Buckeyes are off until Feb. 14 when they hit the road to face Wisconsin, and I think they can win this game. Why? The Badgers aren't getting to the line as much as in years past, and I think that missing a much-needed home court advantage like that will spell doom for the Badgers.
Of course, the possibility is still there for the Buckeyes to come out, shoot 20 percent and turn the ball over like it's going out of style and get blown out of the water. I'm not ready to say that games like that are out of the question for the Buckeyes, but they are looking a lot less likely as time goes forward.
I think … that William Buford is the quietest scorer that I've seen in my time covering the OSU men's basketball program. He will hit the occasional three-pointer, but more and more his baskets are coming on mid-range jumpers.
Think about it. There's nothing sexy about a mid-range jumper. Fans remember flashy, exciting drives to the basket or dramatic bombs from deep. Eschewing both types of points, Buford simply creates some separation and lofts a shot that seems to touch the rafters and then find only net.
As a coach, I would be yelling at him to step out and shoot more of those from beyond the arc, but I can certainly appreciate Buford cultivating a skill that is rarely seen these days.
I think … that the glue that holds this team together might be Jon Diebler. His scoring is streaky, a fact that has been well documented, but his effort is not.
Against Minnesota, Diebler shut down Blake Hoffarber down the stretch after he went nuts in the second half against the Buckeyes. That was his biggest impact on the game, and that says something from a guy who had 11 points, six rebounds, three steals and two assists.
He doesn't need to score 20 for OSU to win.
I think … the fact that Evan Turner was "limited" to 18 points while going 4 of 14 from the floor bodes very well for this OSU team down the stretch.
All season long, we've heard about how much head coach Thad Matta would love to see balanced scoring. We've heard talk about how Turner is not the only offensive weapon on this team, but the fact is that with the exception of a road loss at Illinois Turner has been the team's go-to guy. He has blossomed into a scorer, and he should be counted on to lead the team in points on every night.
However, this time around Turner looked out of sync and had a hard time ever getting into an offensive flow. It didn't matter, as four other players stepped up and had double-digit scoring nights.
That sort of balance is huge, and that is a very good sign for the Buckeyes heading down the back nine of Big Ten play.
I think … I'm starting to come around on P.J. Hill a little bit, but I'm still worried about the point guard position. Jeremie Simmons rebounded from a dreadful performance against Purdue with 10 points, but he had zero assists. Hill had one. Turner led the way with four.
It's not a surprise that Turner can create for his teammates, but I think it's asking too much of him to start running the point on top of everything else. Plus, he now has exactly one more assist than turnover this season, numbers that are a little less than desirable for your primary ball-handler.
Matta described Simmons as a winner who has won at every level in his career and expressed his belief that he will hold true to that pattern in Columbus. I remain skeptical, and although I like what Hill is bringing to the table I'm still not sure I can see OSU going far in the Big Dance with the point guard position being where it is right now.
It makes me wonder what Anthony Crater might be able to provide.