(AP) William Buford scored a career-high 29 points and capped his night with a pivotal dunk in the final minute to power No. 3 Ohio State past Purdue 87-84 on Tuesday. The win was Ohio State’s 40th in a row at home – since losing to Purdue two years ago at Value City Arena. Buford scored 21 points in the second half to carry the Buckeyes (21-3, 9-2) while Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft were on the bench with foul trouble. He scored seven straight points as Ohio State took the lead for good. D.J. Byrd, averaging 6.5 points a game, had a career-best 24 for the Boilermakers (15-9, 5-6), while Kelsey Barlow and Lewis Jackson had 14 each and Robbie Hummel added 13.
Blessed with unreal athleticism and great genes, Purdue’s Kelsey Barlow is no stranger to making his way onto the highlight shows. The junior has his frustrating moments, no doubt, but he can drop a lot of jaws if given the opportunity. Barlow did just that Tuesday night when he posterized preseason Big Ten player of the year Jared Sullinger in a narrow loss at No. 3 Ohio State. The dunk drew rave reviews from the ESPN crew, with Mike Tirico saying in amazement, “That is pretty special.” Indeed. Watch the dunk now and see Barlow’s other big slam in this post.
Jared Sullinger, Draymond Green. Draymond Green, Jared Sullinger. The player on top of my weekly player rankings seemingly changes each week. And it may continue to flip-flop the rest of the month, too. For now, I have to go with Sullinger, given his sterling effort in Ohio State’s first win at Wisconsin since 2000 and the fact Green hurt his knee in a loss at Illinois.
The 2012 Big Ten softball season is set to begin this week with 10 teams taking to the diamond on the opening weekend of play. Nebraska opens the season on Thursday, while Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Ohio State and Penn State begin on Friday, and Minnesota opens its season on Saturday. Wisconsin begins the new year on Feb. 17, and Purdue opens its season on Feb. 18.
This is a nice week of action with five matchups that will go a long way toward determining the Big Ten title chase—and possible NCAA bids. The steak vs. lobster match between the first-place Buckeyes and second-place Spartans is a five-star affair. Don’t miss it.
It’s time to release my latest Big Ten men’s hoops power rankings. The rankings are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply my thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands right now and who would win on a neutral court. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina or leave your comments below. Also, did you see my top 10 plays from the past week?
With the Super Bowl behind us, college basketball now becomes the center of the sports universe. And the Big Ten will get a lot of that attention this week with a collection of nice games headlined by Michigan State’s titanic visit to Ohio State on Saturday in a showdown between the top two teams in the Big Ten. In this week’s Big Ten Whiteboard, I draw up my game of the week, a sleeper matchup, the head-to-head battle between players you need to see, plus a few more items.