Found February 26, 2013 on Fox Sports Ohio:
Ohio-state-florida
By Ari WassermanOriginally published at BuckeyeSports.com As Tom Izzo meticulously sifted through a seasons worth of Ohio State film, it served more as a confirmation of what he already knew about the Buckeyes than it did a lesson of new things for his Michigan State team to watch out for. But what ended up beating his Spartans on Feb. 24 wasnt displayed on that film, not even for a moment. It was an offensive-minded Aaron Craft. Craft was the difference for an Ohio State team eager as ever to earn a statement win. The Spartans just happened to be the victims, as the junior point guard methodically cut through their defense while tallying a career-high 21 points and putting the Buckeyes on his back for the 68-60 win. He didnt do that in the other games, Izzo said. I watched 23 other games on tape on them (and) I dont think hes ever done it. I couldnt plan for something I never saw. No one else had seen it either, but once it was clear, Ohio State instantly went from being a team that was typically overmatched by ranked opponents into the one many hoped it would be before the season a possible Final Four contender. Crafts offensive assault against Michigan State was a key performance for an OSU team looking to pad its NCAA Tournament rsum, but the result could be far more valuable than just the novelty of earning only its second victory in nine tries over a ranked opponent this season. It could be the overhaul the Buckeyes have been looking for if it can somehow become consistent that long- sought-after second reliable scoring option to complement Deshaun Thomas. It was great to see the ball going in for Aaron and him attacking the rim, Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said. I thought he was tremendous. It definitely helps our basketball team when hes doing that because you know what youre going to get on the other end. Craft has been referred to as the best defender in college basketball enough times to render that comment ordinary when its uttered. But he is also the unquestionable leader of his team and most recently was named the nations top Academic All-American on Feb. 21. So whats one more thing to ask from the guy who can seemingly do it all? How about being a consistent scoring threat? It is always out there, whether or not I am scoring as much as I should, Craft told BSB. We all have the ability to score on this team. Sometimes it is my night, sometimes it is someone elses. As long as we find a way to win, it doesnt matter. But it really does matter. As long as it is Crafts night on the offensive end, it should be Ohio States night to at least be in position to capture a victory. The Buckeyes potential was realized when Crafts scoring was on display against the Spartans. Though Thomas, the Big Tens leading scorer, made only four of his 16 shot attempts from the field, the Buckeyes were still collectively good enough with Crafts support to beat a top-five opponent. But the question remains: Can he do it consistently? Craft entered the Michigan State game averaging only 9.2 points per game with his previous career high of 20 points coming in the season-opening win against Albany on Nov. 11. He has failed to reach double digits in scoring in seven of the teams 15 Big Ten games. But in a game during which Crafts offensive aggression translated into making 7 of 12 shots from the field most of which were at or near the rim and 7 of 8 free-throw attempts, the Buckeyes beat a team regarded by most experts as one of the best in the country. If those numbers can be duplicated by Craft, in addition to what Thomas brings he finished with 14 points despite his poor shooting performance Ohio State once again becomes a team to be reckoned with. The biggest thing that we get from a game like this is a win against a great opponent, Craft said. This is big for this basket- ball team, the way weve picked ourselves up from a week ago (a 71-49 blowout loss at Wisconsin) when we werent ready to go. Hopefully we can continue to build off this. If it takes (me scoring) ... I dont care who is scoring, who is putting the ball in the bucket as long as we come out with more points. Anything Craft can add on the offensive end has long been viewed as a bonus. Perhaps the final hurdle the Buckeyes must clear before taking a big turn for the better in March is turning to their junior point guard for that consistent offensive production. The team already does it on the other end of the floor. I mean, hes the best defender in college basketball, Matta said. "There's no doubt about it." Follow Ari Wasserman on Twitter and find Buckeye Sports Bulletin on Facebook.
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Offensive-Minded Craft Changes OSU For Better

Heading into Sunday it would have been hard to imagine that the Ohio State basketball team could beat a top-five opponent with Deshaun Thomas shooting 4-for-16 from the field. But with Aaron Craft's career-high 21 points, the Buckeyes knocked off then-No. 4 Michigan State. So the question begs to be asked - is Craft the difference for this team?

Craft Leads Buckeyes In Win Over Sparty

In a game that I couldn’t necessarily see, as I was being directly blocked by the backside of the basket, Ohio State got a much needed win against a great Michigan State basketball team. From the get-go, it was clear that the “good version” of the Buckeyes were out to play. They were hustling and calm, two things that Ohio State has seemed to lack in bad losses. Although Ohio...

Craft dominates, Ohio State survives

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Reports of Ohio State's demise were at least slightly premature and largely discounted the magical healing powers of point guardhuman floorburn Aaron Craft. Old guys can still win in college basketball, and Craft and his most-experienced teammates guided Ohio State to a big second half and a 68-60 win over Michigan State in another Big Ten survival game Sunday...

No. 4 Spartans upended by Craft, Buckeyes

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Tom Izzo isn't happy with where his Michigan State Spartans are headed. After being outscored by 14 points in the second half of Sunday's disappointing 68-60 loss at No. 18 Ohio State, the coach of the fourth-ranked Spartans took a hard look at his team as it heads into its final three regular-season games and the postseason. "I haven't seen...

Buckeyes hope they learned lesson

There's something about traveling to Northwestern that seems to summon problems for the Ohio State Buckeyes. A year ago, the Buckeyes were ranked 10th and the Wildcats were headed for a losing record in the Big Ten. Yet it took Jared Sullinger's banked-in turnaround with 3.1 seconds left for Ohio State to escape with a 75-73 win. In 2011, the Buckeyes were 22-0 and No....

Sports Illustrated features South Carolina's Jadevon Clowney and Ohio St.'s Braxton Miller on regional covers.

Sports Illustrated takes a little poke at itself as Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller and South Carolina defensive end Jadevon Clowney burst through separate regional versions of SI's yearly March Madness cover. It's part of SI's spring college football preview. Clowney is called "Football's next bust-out star, while Miller is "Ready to burst onto the...

OSU’s Sam Thompson throws down nasty dunk off Craft inbounds pass

Ohio State’s sophomore forward, Sam Thompson, showed us Sunday why he’s one of the most athletic players in the country. Thompson caught an inbounds pass from Aaron Craft and threw it down on Michigan State’s Matt Costello. OSU went on to win the game, 66-60 , and improve to 10-5 in the Big Ten, while MSU falls to 11-4. Slammin’ Sam Thompson had the highlight of the game.

Buckeyes hope they've learned from earlier game

The last time Ohio State played Northwestern, the wounded Wildcats had the Buckeyes on the ropes most of the night. Then the Buckeyes went on a late 12-0 run to pull off a 69-59 home win that might mislead some to thinking they were more in control than they actually ever were. The teams will meet again on Thursday night at Welsh-Ryan Arena and coach Thad Matta knows his team must...

Ohio St.-Northwestern Preview

There's something about traveling to Northwestern that seems to summon problems for the Ohio State Buckeyes. A year ago, the Buckeyes were ranked 10th and the Wildcats were headed for a losing record in the Big Ten. Yet it took Jared Sullinger's banked-in turnaround with 3.1 seconds left for Ohio State to escape with a 75-73 win. In 2011, the Buckeyes were 22-0 and No....

Craft leads No. 18 OSU past No. 4 MSU

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- All year long Ohio State's fans wondered whether Aaron Craft -- one of the nation's top defenders -- would ever make major contributions at the other end of the court. He picked the perfect time to finally break loose. Craft continually slashed through the lane for a career-high 21 points on Sunday -- more than he had scored in the last three games...

All Sixteen (or more) Ohio State Football Sports Illustrated Covers

  Braxton Miller graces the cover of Sports Illustrated’s Spring Football Preview this week.  He is one in a long line of Buckeye football players to make an appearance.  As most of us assume, this won’t be the last time he’s on there with the word “Heisman” involved.

Video: Buckeyes at NFL Combine

Ohio State was well represented at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, check out where the Buckeyes stack up in the 2013 Draft class.

FOX Sports NEXT Podcast – Ohio State

In the latest FOXSportsNEXT.com podcast we’re joined by the team of BuckeyeSports.com talking about The Ohio State University.

Top 10: Influential Buckeyes from the Pro Ranks

Top 10: Influential Buckeyes from the Pro Ranks Throughout the years, there have been plenty of Buckeyes soar past the confines of I-270 that encircles Columbus and prove to be truly essential in the annuls of the professional ranks. The question is, who are the most influential? In order to answer that question, we must delve into the top ten Buckeyes who have done the most in the...
Buckeyes News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.