Some random thoughts from the Buckeyes’ 89-70 win over the Fighting Illini on Tuesday night.
-William Buford really lit it up in the first half and that made everyone wonder what the Purdue loss would have been like had he stayed out of foul trouble. He really seems to be taking on the 2006-07 Ron Lewis scoring role on this year’s team, and a big tournament from him wouldn’t surprise me at all.
-Having said that, Buford didn’t score at all in the second half. Most of the reasoning for that, however, stems from him not having to because of David Lighty‘s second half performance, where he scored 17 of his 21 points. Lighty scored 13 straight OSU points when the Buckeyes needed it the most in the second half, as the Illini cut the Buckeye lead to six. I’ll have more on his performance tomorrow.
-I was surprised by the lacking crowd for the 7 pm start, especially compared to the 9 pm start last week vs. Michigan State. The media contingent was also lacking, with only four of the eight seats in my row being taken throughout the first half. I’m not saying Columbus is a city of front runners, but Columbus is a city of front runners.
-Throughout my critiques of Big Ten coaches, I’ve always assumed Bruce Weber would be a jerk. Surprisingly, he wasn’t, at all. Aside from using his outdoors voice to talk in a small room, he was very complimentary of the Buckeyes, didn’t blame the loss on the refs (although he may have taken one subliminal shot about Buckeyes screens being set), and answered two questions by just praising Lighty (one of the questions never mentioned Lighty). You can tell this season and Demetri McCamey have taken a toll on him.
-Speaking of McCamey, he sucks. I always wondered why Evan Turner wasn’t a higher ranked recruit coming out of high school, now I’m starting to think it was McCamey holding him back. He might just not be good enough to carry a team, and would be much more effective as a second or third option like Buford is on OSU, but for all the praise that’s been heaped on him over the past two seasons, I’ve never walked away from an OSU-Illinois game saying, ‘Wow, McCamey killed the Buckeyes,’ like I have with Manny Harris, Kalin Lucas, Jordan Taylor, and E’Twaun Moore.
-Also the game, Thad Matta was asked about Aaron Craft‘s play in a very complimentary way. Matta answered just with “Shh!” in a joking manner. When someone asked if Craft could be one-and-done, Matta just laughed and said “That’d be just my luck.” I don’t think it’s anything for Buckeye fans to worry about, but if B.J. Mullens can come out (and be drafted) after a year, you never know.