OSU Tournament Notebook: Saturday Edition

Who does Bo Ryan think should be the Big Ten player of the year? Is David Lighty done for the year? What the heck was the blue thing in P.J. Hill's sock? The answer to these questions and more are covered in this notebook as Ohio State prepares for Michigan State.

INDIANAPOLIS – When Ohio State and Michigan State take the court Saturday afternoon, there will be a little more than team pride on the line.

In an announcement that has somewhat divided the Big Ten community, Spartan guard Kalin Lucas was named the league's player of the year award in place of Buckeye swingman Evan Turner. The argument has been that Lucas was the best player on the league's best team, while Turner has meant the most to his team's success.

After Turner led the Buckeyes to a victory against Wisconsin in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament, Badgers head coach Bo Ryan gave his endorsement of Turner – albeit in clipped tones.

"Turner made a lot of good plays," Ryan said. "He's that good. And he also helped create some things for the other guys. But he proved why he's, I would easily say the best player in the league: because he gets things done, and he makes his team successful."

Entering the tournament, Lucas led his team by averaging 14.8 points per game and had 138 assists against 61 turnovers along with 2.2 rebounds per game. Turner led the Buckeyes in scoring (16.8 points), rebounds (6.9 per game), assists (112), steals (50) and tied for the most minutes played (36.0 per game).

After the Wisconsin game, the Buckeyes had little to say about this opportunity to see the two face off.

"It might (mean something)," OSU sophomore center Dallas Lauderdale said. "Both (are) first-team all-big ten conference. It might mean something, but I just think they're both great players who will want to win the game."

Lighty Update: After watching the Buckeyes defeat Wisconsin from the sideline, injured forward David Lighty said he still thinks he might be able to play this season.

"Hopefully there is (a chance)," he said. "You never know what could happen."

Lighty suffered a fractured foot in OSU's win Dec. 17 against Jacksonville and has been assumed lost for the season. The junior has been able to take part in some practice action, but still has not yet been cleared for game action.

He also said he has not yet been ruled out for the rest of the season, either. There has been no sit-down meeting yet to declare his season over, Lighty said.

"I think I maybe could've played but the doctors wouldn't let me play," he said. "I would fight through the pain as much as I could but it still wouldn't be a good thing for me because my foot is not totally healed. I'll practice one day and it's 100 percent to me and I'm good. The next day I come out and I can't do too much because it's hurting."

With time running out, would Lighty re-join the team if it meant sacrificing a medical redshirt for one game? The man himself said he would have to think long and hard about that.

"I don't know," he said. "I might have to sit down and talk about that then. That would be a hard one. I know I would want to play, but I don't know what I would do."

Saw It Coming: Aside from a Lauderdale free-throw 38 seconds into the game, the Buckeyes did not hold a first-half lead until William Buford buried a three-pointer at the buzzer to send them into the locker room with a one-point advantage.

Not only did the shot cap a 7-0 OSU run to close the half, but it marked a first for Buford's career.

"The funny thing is Dallas and I were talking earlier and I was talking about how I always wanted to hit a buzzer shot and I'd never hit one before," he said.

As the shot swished through the net and the buzzer sounded, Buford turned and looked down the court as his teammates erupted on the OSU bench. Pausing for a second as if in disbelief, he then thumped himself twice on the chest with his right fist before running to meet up with the rest of the Buckeyes.

"I was in the moment," he said. "It felt real good."

Hill Has The Blues: With the Buckeyes trailing 40-37 nearly six minutes into the second half, junior point guard P.J. Hill drove to the basket and drew a foul. As he stepped to the free-throw line, Hill was stopped by one of the officials who pointed at his feet.

Rather than drawing attention to the fact that Hill is the only player on the roster to wear high white socks with two red rings stitched around them, the official was pointing to something tiny and blue. Hill then took the item out of his sock and handed it to head coach Thad Matta, who hit it in the breast pocket of his coat as if it contained some sort of top-secret information.

Turns out, it was a rolled-up wrapper from a Gatorade bottle. And Hill has dozens of them.

"I take my Gatorade wrapper, roll it up at halftime and stick it in my right sock," he said. "This is the first game that they ever made me take it out. I guess it was showing too much."

The tradition began when Hill was suiting up for Midland (Texas) Junior College prior to joining the Buckeyes and then continued once he arrived in Columbus.

"We used to get Gatorades at halftime and I would take the wrapper off, roll it up and put it in my sock," he said. "Now it's a habit."

After the game is over, Hill then hangs on to the wrappers and puts them in a bag.

"I just take it out and put it in my bag," he said. "I've got a whole collection of them, about 200 of them. This is like my little hobby, see how many Gatorade bottles I went through."


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