Wisconsin v Ohio State

No. 11 Ohio State gets 25 from Deshaun Thomas, beats Wisconsin

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You would think that, by now, the scouting report on No. 11 Ohio State would be readily available.

They have Deshaun Thomas. He likes to shoot a lot. He’s really the only scoring threat that the Buckeyes have. Do not let him get into a rhythm.

On Tuesday night, he did.

Thomas finished with 25 points, hitting 10-17 from the floor without the benefit of a three-pointer, as the Buckeyes knocked off Wisconsin 58-49 to keep pace with Michigan State one game back of Indiana and Michigan in the loss column in the Big Ten standings.

Where Thomas did his real damage, however, came midway through the second half. The Buckeyes used a 15-0 run to open up a 52-41 lead with six minutes left. Thomas scored 10 of those points.

What was most impressive about Thomas’ performance is that he wasn’t settling for threes. He did his work in the mid-post, squaring up Ryan Evans and Mike Breusewitz 10-12 feet from the basket and simply abusing them.

Also relevant for the Buckeyes: Aaron Craft’s 13 points and six assists. One of the major concerns for Ohio State this season is that they don’t have that secondary scoring threat, mainly because many believe that Craft is less of an offensive threat than he is a facilitator, a defender and a leader. He he had a couple of nice drives to the rim, beating Traevon Jackson to the bucket.

At the end of the day, it’s difficult to take too much out of a game like this. Ohio State is supposed to beat Wisconsin at home. They did that thanks to their best player playing like he was the best player on the floor. Wisconsin fought hard, but came up short.

If there is a concern to take out of this game for Bo Ryan’s club, it’s that they didn’t attempt a single free throw for the first time in his tenure as head coach, taking 28 of their 52 FGAs from beyond the arc.

Wisconsin isn’t build to get to the charity stripe, but that’s still worrisome. Getting to the foul line is a really easy way to build momentum on the road.

You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.

VIDEO: Duke’s Grayson Allen beats No. 7 Virginia at the buzzer

Duke's Grayson Allen (3) and Marshall Plumlee (40) react during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Louisville in Durham, N.C., Monday, Feb. 8, 2016. Duke won 72-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
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Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia sparks come-from-behind win over No. 13 Louisville

Notre Dame’s Steve Vasturia (32) goes up for a shot over Boston College’s Idy Diallo (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
(AP Photo/Robert Franklin)
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Demetrius Jackson scored 20 of his 25 points in the first half and Steve Vasturia scored 15 of his 20 points in the final 20 minutes as Notre Dame landed a 71-66 win over No. 13 Louisville on Saturday afternoon.

The Fighting Irish trailed by as many as 11 points early in the second half, but Vasturia’s hot shooting combined with Notre Dame holding Louisville to just 15 points in the final 15 minutes made all the difference.

The Fighting Irish are not as good as they were last season, but they are built in a similar mold. Jackson, as we expected, as become one of the nation’s most dynamic point guards, impossible to slow-down in isolation and ball-screen actions. Steve Vasturia emerging as a legitimate secondary option offensively and Zach Auguste is one of the nation’s most underrated big men and one of the most dangerous as the roll-man in ball-screens.

Combine all of that with a handful of shooters creating space and Bonzie Colson’s emergence as a force on the offensive glass, and Mike Brey once again has one of the nation’s most lethal offensive attacks.

Where they struggle is on the defensive end of the floor, which is what makes the end of Saturday’s win so meaningful. The Irish entered the day ranked 232nd in KenPom’s adjusted defensive efficiency metric, which more or less means they’re as good as a bad mid-major program at keeping their opponents from scoring.

But they don’t have to be great to be able to win games.

They have to be good enough and they have to get important stops.

That’s precisely what happened on Saturday.

Whether or not that actually becomes a trend for this group will be something to monitor — it happened for Duke during last year’s NCAA tournament — but the bottom-line is this: Notre Dame does something better than just about anyone else in college basketball, and that’s score the ball.

On the nights they are able to gets some stops, they are going to be able to win some games. In the last eight days, they’ve proven that, beating North Carolina, Clemson on the road and Louisville.

And that makes them dangerous in March.