Ohio State-Illinois Recap
Ohio State earns a key win in their first conference game, beating Illinois in Champaign 74-58. Jamar Butler put up a career high 32 points on just 17 FG attempts and threw in 6 assists to boot. So he was directly involved in roughly 44 of the Buckeyes’ 74 points. For a young team like Ohio State, having a senior point guard who can score and handle the ball efficiently is going to be a major asset in conference play.
Ohio State played their 2-3 zone almost exclusively, taking advantage of Illinois’ lack of perimeter shooting. The Illini shot just 4 of 21 (19.0%) from 3-point range. I thought they were actually pretty effective creating quality shots in the paint against the zone given the lack of a consistent 3-point threat. They shot a decent percentage (19-38) on 2-pointers. But you can’t go all night working so hard to create good shots. Against a zone, you have to pick up some easy points on open 3-point looks. Hard to believe the one-time epitome of the perimeter-oriented team now struggles so mightily outside the arc.
A Voice from Big Ten Conference Seasons Past
TAFKATBTW weighs in on the Big Ten conference race. You have to wade through his prognostications on the ACC and Big East first, though. And you only get his views on the three teams at the top of the projected Big Ten standings. Hence the “Formerly” in The Artist Formerly Known as the Big Ten Wonk. Nevertheless, his insights are always enlightening. He concurs with this blog in noting the great potential our Spartans now exhibit having reduced their turnover rate. He nonconcurs regarding the Hoosiers; his assertion is that Eric Gordon makes them MORE consistent because he’s such a potent scoring option in tight road games.