Saturday, March 31, 2007

Ohio State 67 Georgetown 60

Ohio State didn't play brilliantly but they didn't need to either. The team that at the beginning of the season was a collection of talented individuals, now plays as a cohesive team of interchangeable parts.

Having Oden in foul trouble early ought to be a disaster for OSU, and most opponents assume it will be. With Oden out they breathe a sigh of relief and assume the game will go their way. Only it never quite works out that way. It certainly didn't tonight for Georgetown.

Ohio State spent the early part of the season figuring out what to do when Oden was hurt and what to do when he has foul trouble. They have a solution, and they are able to actually take the game to the opponent and play aggressively when the big man is out. Sure Hibbert was able to make some plays in the paint with Oden out, but he was going to do that anyway.

Before the game, The Lantern had a good article arguing that OSU should just sit Oden in the first half so he's rested and foul free for the second. Extreme? Yes. But hey, it could just work. That's the way the games having been playing out anyway when you consider how quickly he got his second foul against Georgetown and ended up sitting. I don't see the Florida game being much different except the Gators have the players to take advantage.

The Buckeyes will be big, big underdogs in the Monday night finale, and they are going to have to shoot well, substitute well, and have some plays ready that will keep Florida guessing.

The best way for an underdog to win is to grab an early lead and then weather the storms when the superior team flexes its muscles and makes their runs. That means Conley and Lewis will need to have huge first halfs, and put the team in a good place for Oden to do his thing in the second half. If we fall behind it will be hard to catch up. They have too many weapons, and an apparently bottomless well of energy.

So here we go Buckeye fans. The match-up we've been wanting since January. Fingers are officially crossed. Go Bucks!