19 January 2010

Recap: Ohio State 76 Northwestern 56

This just in. Ohio State got another dunk! ESPN is reporting this game as a "Buckeye Blowout." That is a fair assessment.

That Northwestern lost this game was not a surprise. In fact Carmody Court wrote back in December that this could be one of NU's toughest games if Evan Turner were healthy. Guess what? Evan Turner was healthy.

What was surprising was that Northwestern (13-5, 2-4 Big Ten) was blown out of the building by Ohio State (14-5, 4-3) from the opening tip. This was NU's second Big Ten blowout. What is the common denominator between Ohio State and Michigan State? They are both good teams obviously, but it goes beyond that because there are other good teams that NU has hung with (Wisconsin) and even defeated (Purdue). No the Achilles heel appears to be the combination of penetration with deadly three point shooters and an athletic big man who can finish at the tin.

Northwestern is certainly not alone in its struggles against such teams so there is no reason to panic. Evan Turner playing in the Big Ten is akin to a D1-bound high school senior playing a game on the JV squad. No one is going to stop him at this level as he is a Mismatch with a capital M.

The only redeeming aspect to this game was John Shurna's 22 point, 5 rebound, 4 steal effort on 7-10 shooting from the field and 5-6 from the line (his perfection streak was bound to end at some point). Drew Crawford was the only other NU player in double figures (11), but he struggled from the line (3-6), from the field (3-10), and turned it over three times. It wasn't Crawford's best game, but it was probably an education for a young frosh who had only once been in a game of this caliber previousy (MSU). Maybe he learned a thing or two from his first hand look at Evan Turner and his all-around game.

Thank goodness Northwestern only plays Ohio State once this year.