Monday, March 21, 2011

David Lighty's Cleveland Clinic, and the Buckeyes look Sweet

AP Photo/Amy Sancetta
What can you possibly say about Sunday's 32-point dismantling of George Mason University?  Sometimes you just have to lean back and enjoy a work of art, without trying to explain why it is beautiful.

The Buckeyes were beautiful on Sunday.  Ohio State, of course, has been playing at such a high level lately that more and more of the national media are backing off their "no great teams in college basketball" claim this year.

Rick Pitino, who I am sure is confused right now on good teams vs. bad teams, could barely contain himself in the studio, gushing about how great Ohio State is, on their best day looking like they have no weaknesses, and that they are far-and-away the best team in college basketball right now.

While naturally I am thrilled about the weekend--much more than I am about my decimated bracket--caution still reigns supreme for me.  I mean, when Ohio State is clicking, it certainly is a work of art.  Inside, outside, rebounding, three pointers, assists, defense, everything is executed with perfection.  But at rare times this year, they seem to slack a little bit, and make games way closer than they should be.  It happened against Northwestern twice in the past couple months, and certainly appeared likely in the early minutes against George Mason.  Perhaps that has been put behind them by now.  Thad Matta seems to know exactly what to do with this team, and once they put their foot on the gas (and , like Sunday, on the throats of their opponents), as Jared Sullinger said, "It's over, yo."

(AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
The star of the game, in what must have been one of the funnest games of his career, (albeit not the biggest, obviously), was Cleveland's own David Lighty.  Amazing performance, 7-for-7 from three, 25 points, and just dagger after dagger into the Patriots hopes.  And in front of thousands of scarlet-and-grey clad fans, chanting "O-H-I-O" so many times I'm sure the Syracuse fans waiting to see their team get upset considered joining in.  With his family and friends watching, Lighty led the Buckeyes to a huge statement win. When your bigs and your guards, your freshmen and your seniors, all mesh like they've all been playing together for years, it makes you very hard to beat.  And that is precisely what we saw on Sunday.

With double-digit seeds throughout the Sweet Sixteen, one #1 seed (Pitt) out and another one (Duke) barely escaping that team up north, Ohio State gave the rest of the country something to chew on before this weekend's games.  For the Buckeyes, it's on to Newark, and John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats.