William Buford Takes Final Shot for Ohio State over Jon Diebler?
This post will have an extremely bitter tone and it’s because I picked Ohio State to win the entire tournament. The Buckeyes only lost twice in the regular season and seemed to have every key ingredient necessary to succeed in March. But after blowing out their first two opponents, they got bounced by a Kentucky squad that played lock-down defense.
DeAndre Liggins and Josh Harrelson deserve tons of credit for stepping up for the Wildcats and leading them to victory, but it still hurts me to see a team that went 32-2 in the regular season end up as a failure. What stings even more is that they were eliminated by an eight-loss team, but that’s the nature of the tournament, like it or love it.
In a single-game elimination style, it’s win or go home and teams can’t afford to have off games, which is exactly what happened with the Buckeyes.
Ohio State shot 33% in the loss and saw Aaron Craft go 0-5. They were hurt most though by junior guard William Buford who was 2-16 and had his worst game of the tournament. Buford averages just over 14 points per game and is a 46% shooter, yet he crapped out shooting only 12.5% from the field.
Still, despite his struggles, the Buckeyes still had a chance to win.
After Brandon Knight hit the winning shot, the Buckeyes had just over five seconds to try and tie the game or win it. Not only did Thad Matta not call a timeout to set up a play and plan, but the ball ended up in the hands of Buford who decided he’d try to win it with a long-range three. The way he had been shooting throughout the game, there’s no reason he should have been passed the ball much less taken the shot. If anyone should have taken the shot, it was Jon Diebler who was 4-7 from long distance and who had made a big three to tie the game on the team’s previous possession.
The Buckeyes were an excellent team and had a fantastic season, but they go home as a disappointment. Even with their off game they could have won had they planned their last possession better. With the season on the line, it’s a shock they elected to go out that way.