Happy New Year everyone! I hope today wasn't a preview of things to come in 2012, because I'm officially freaked out. Up is down. Down is up. Hipsters are cool. Wisconsin loses at home and Aaron Craft carelessly turns the ball over with the game on the line. This is madness. Hey at least the Spartans won a game they were supposed to, right?
Aaron Craft led Ohio State in scoring today with 16 points but still managed to be the goat in a 74-70 loss at Indiana. With the Buckeyes leading by three at the end of the first half, Craft allowed the ball to be stolen by Victor Oladipo twice in a row, and the Hoosiers capitalized to gain a one-point lead headed to the break.
At the end of the second half with a one-point Ohio State lead, Craft forced himself into the lane on consecutive possession and made errant passes resulting in a changes of possession and four Indiana points. I'm not sure why Craft was being so reckless when he has players like William Buford and Jared Sullinger on his team. Thad Matta cannot be happy about this.
Of course, Indiana contributed to their victory with some stellar play of their own. Jordan Hulls bounced back from being shut down in East Lansing to lead his team in scoring with 17 points including 4 of 5 on three-pointers. Victor Oladipo scored 15 points and continues to be an athletic menace. It seems he can score from anywhere, and he's got tremendous ability when driving to the hoop, so how did he not get to the free throw line in this game? It's kind of a good sign for IU, because Victor Oladipo having untapped potential is kind of scary.
The other shocking result of today was Iowa's 72-65 triumph in Madison, where the Badgers have been almost unbeatable. It was not hard to see where their demise came from. Wisconsin shot 3 of 28 from beyond the arc, which is the kind of results you'd expect to see if you rounded up five random guys from the JCC and decided to go play versus a Big Ten college basketball team. Particularly horrible was Ben Brust, who threw up 9 three-point attempts and clanged 8 of them.
Jordan Taylor tried his best to make chicken salad out of the mess, but at the end of the game he appeared exhausted from repeatedly driving to the lane and not being able to trust his teammates to make shots. He finished with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assist on the night, including an incredible reverse layup that I'll try to find video of later.
Just like it appeared in their close loss to Purdue, Fran McCaffery does indeed have some talent on his hands at Iowa. He just doesn't yet know which talent is going to show up each night. Versus Purdue it was Melsahn Basabe and Roy Devyn Marble leading the way. Today Bryce Cartwright returned from purgatory with a brilliant 17 rebounds and 5 assists from the point guard spot. Incredible freshman Aaron White was just that with 18 points on 6 of 7 shooting. Matt Gatens had an off night on offense, but somehow managed to grab 12 rebounds to help out. There's definitely something brewing in Iowa City.
Also happening today, Michgan State handled Nebraska 68-55, albeit in a surprisingly close contest. Draymond Green had 19 points and 8 rebounds.
In West Lafayette, Purdue ripped Illinois despite getting only 5 points from Robbie Hummel. Kelsey Barlow and Ryne Smith scored 14 and 12 points, respectively, to lift the Boilermakers.
We also never really broke down Michgan's 71-53 trouncing of Penn State on Thursday night, and it's not because I'm too embarrassed as a PSU fan to talk about it. I've accepted this season for what it is. Just know this: Tim Hardaway Jr. is a beast and Penn State doesn't have anyone who can match up with him. Tim Frazier may come close to touching his athleticism, but he is only 5'11" and cannot defend such a man. Of the players Penn State has who are as tall as Hardaway Jr., none are as athletic. Hopefully Pat Chambers can recruit men who are both tall and athletic in the future.
I've got to run. More on these games tomorrow. Happy New Year!