COLUMBUS, OH - DECEMBER 28: William Buford #44 of the Ohio State Buckeyes dishes off the ball to Deshaun Thomas #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes against the Northwestern Wildcats in the first half on December 28, 2011 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Basically nothing went right in this one for Northwestern. Drew Crawford and John Shurna combined to shoot 9 for 30 from the field. Ohio State completely dominated on the offensive boards: if you take out missed free throws where Ohio State didn't even try to get the rebound, the Buckeyes must have gotten at least half their misses back. Ohio State also hit 10 of 20 from three, dismantling the 1-3-1 zone on the rare occasions Bill Carmody went to it. Carmody also elected not to go with the slowdown offense that was so effective last season, which was a bit curious, but it likely wouldn't have made a difference.
Despite the poor shooting and rebounding, Northwestern made this game at least somewhat respectable for 30 minutes, getting within 13 midway through the second half, but after that they completely melted down, playing selfishly on offense and lazily on defense. Dave Sobolewski was about the only guy who seemed to play hard the entire game, and he finished with a solid 10 points and 5 assists. Other than Sobo, it was ugly. JerShon Cobb in particular chucked up several terrible shots and seemed to have no interest in passing the ball. I understand he is battling injuries, but he needs to become more of a team player immediately.
As Rodger said in his preview earlier today, Ohio State with Jared Sullinger is the best team in the country, and they were playing at home. Losing to them is perfectly understandable, especially when your top two scorers both have cold shooting nights. However, the last ten minutes of tonight have left a bad taste in my mouth. Ultimately, a one point loss counts the same in the standings as a blowout loss, but I'm more than a bit discouraged going forward by the way Northwestern laid down at the end of the game tonight.