A virtual non-factor for the entire conference season, the sophomore center came out and set the tone early for Ohio State. On the first possession of the game, Lauderdale blocked Jason Bohannon's shot attempt. On OSU's first possession, he caught a pass down low and drew a foul, subsequently hitting on one of two free throws.
It was the start of a night that looked pedestrian on paper: eights points, five rebounds, four blocks in 28 minutes of action. However, Lauderdale's impact on both ends of the court stretched well beyond the stat sheet.
I'm not sure how many other shots Lauderdale altered, but it was quite a few. In addition, he jumped higher than I have ever seen him jump to secure an Evan Turner miss in the last two minutes of the game that led to what would be the final go-ahead basket for the Buckeyes.
After the game, Lauderdale had an ice wrap on his left shoulder but otherwise looked no worse for the wear. For him to play his best game all season against a physical opponent like Wisconsin was absolutely huge. Now, if he can parlay that into success against Michigan State as well, the Buckeyes' chances of success against the Spartans grow exponentially.
I think … that for the second game in a row, I noticed William Buford making an effort on the glass. The freshman was one of three Buckeyes to finish with four boards as OSU reversed a 10-rebound deficit from the first time it played Wisconsin to finish even on the glass with the Badgers at 29 each.
After the game, Jon Diebler said he felt the key to OSU's win was its ability to hit the glass better this time around against the Badgers. It was a team effort: only Jeremie Simmons did not come up with one in his 16 minutes of action. Four of the five starters had four or more rebounds.
There was still the matter of just four offensive rebounds for the Buckeyes, but they held Wisconsin to nine of their own. The last time these two teams faced, that ratio was 15-3 in favor of the Badgers.
I think … that the game against Wisconsin once again proved that Turner deserved Big Ten player of the year honors.
I watched the Michigan State-Minnesota game played directly prior to OSU's game, and Kalin Lucas certainly made some key plays that helped spark his Spartan team to victory. Then I watched the Buckeyes, and I saw Turner once again seemingly single-handedly lead them to victory by scoring six of his game-high 19 points during OSU's 14-3 game-closing run. In addition, he assisted on a huge three-pointer by Diebler during that stretch while playing the last 3:59 with four personal fouls.
There is no player more valuable to his team's or more crucial to his team's success than Turner. I hope he sticks around next year and hammers that point home.
I think … that Wisconsin is a one-and-done tournament team if I have ever seen one. Watching the Badgers in person, I was struck by how they really are just not that good of a team.
Bo Ryan does a heck of a job getting his players to understand his system, and he absolutely gets the most out of his players, but Wisconsin was just 9 for 26 (34.6 percent) in the second half. Included in that total is an 0-for-7 performance from the field that closed out the game.
Give some of that credit to the Buckeyes, who were determined to keep the Badgers off the glass, but the fact is that Wisconsin missed some shots a good team would not have.
I think … that the statistic I am perhaps most happy about in the Wisconsin win comes courtesy of P.J. Hill. In 24 minutes of action, the junior point guard finished with seven points – all on free throws.
For the game, Hill was 7 for 11 from the charity stripe. He did not attempt a shot from the field.
I've felt all along that the Buckeyes have needed more aggression from the point guard spot, and it seemed to me like Hill provided that against the Badgers. Now we have to see if that will work against the Spartans as well, but this was a step in the right direction.