This year has seen a number of trends, the latest one being bubble teams constantly losing when they have a chance to make a statement to the committee and potentially improve their resume enough so that it is NCAA Tournament-worthy. It seemingly happens every week, and this week was no different. UAB lost by 48 to Memphis; Illinois State by 30 to Drake; Florida lost two games this week; Virginia Tech gave up two late free throws to fall to Clemson by one; Southern Illinois lost to Northern Iowa – the list is endless. One team that made a move in the right direction this week was Ohio State. The Buckeyes knocked off Purdue and Michigan State in back-to-back games, and may have worked their way into the field. If they do make the Tournament, they will have to thank Jamar Butler for his outstanding week.
Heading into the season, Butler knew he was going to have to take on yet another role this season; with such a young team, Butler had to be the elder statesman and become more of a leader. This week epitomized the transformation that Butler has undergone. He scored 25 points against Purdue earlier this week, and followed it up with a 20-point, four-rebound, two-assist performance in the Buckeyes’ win over Michigan State on Sunday. He shot 7-for-12 from three-point range, hitting 11-of-18 from the field overall. Butler was also perfect from the free-throw line, hitting all 16 foul shots he took. On the season, the senior guard is averaging 14.5 points and 6.0 assists per game.
Ohio State heads into the Big Ten Tournament with plenty of momentum off of its two big wins this week. Ironically, the Buckeyes will face Michigan State again in the quarterfinals of the conference tournament – a game they might have to win in order to feel safe about their chances come Selection Sunday. However, they wouldn’t even be in this position without Butler’s huge week.
2007-08 Collegehoops.net Players of the Week
March 2nd - Robert Vaden, UAB
February 25th - Al Fisher, Kent State
February 18th - Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis
February 11th - Tyler Hansbrough, UNC
February 4th - Ryan Anderson, California
January 27th - Jerryd Bayless, FR, Arizona
January 20th – Davon Jefferson, FR, USC
January 13th – Michael Beasley, FR, Kansas State
January 6th - Shan Foster, SR, Vanderbilt
December 30th - Brian Butch, SR, Wisconsin
December 23rd - Dwayne Curtis, SR, F, Mississippi
December 16th - Gary Forbes, SR, F, UMASS
December 9th - Joe Alexander, JR, F, West Virginia
December 2nd - Jerryd Bayless, FR, G, Arizona
November 25th - DJ Augustin, SO, G, Texas
November 18th - Jon Brockman, JR, F, Washington
November 11th - Michael Beasley, FR, F, Kansas State