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Buckeyes Win, Have a Chance To Join B1G Champs Club

Now they need some help from the Wolverines.

Score: (14) Ohio State 68, Illinois 55

Stars:Ohio State:Deshaun Thomas 19 Pts, 4 Rebs. Aaron Craft 14 Pts, 6 Ast, 4 Reb, 3 Stl. Illinois:Brandon Paul 21 Pts, 5 Reb.

Story: Ohio State wrapped up its regular season Sunday afternoon with a 68-55 victory over Illinois at the Schottenstein Center. Deshaun Thomas, Aaaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith all scored in double figures.

The atmosphere at The Schott this afternoon was decidedly tame with school out on spring break and only 500 student tickets available, and ESPN commentator Dan Dakich was quick to point out the library-like lack of noise.

Evan Ravenel was the lone player honored on senior day in Columbus, and he pitched in seven points and five rebounds in 18 minutes. More notably, this could also be junior Deshaun Thomas' last home game in a Buckeye uniform. Thomas flirted with turning pro after last year's Final Four run, and is likely to do the same at the conclusion of this season. It would be surprising to see him hang around for his senior year.

This victory was similar to many other OSU wins this year over unranked teams, with the Buckeyes controlling much of the game without much fanfare, ultimately pulling away to a comfortable double-digit win. Shannon Scott and Aaron Craft often shared the court, a tandem that has been working well recently and figures to be crucial to success in the coming weeks. 

A welcome sight for Buckeye fans was the continued improved play of Aaron Craft, who played an aggressive game on offense driving to the rim. This is an aspect of Craft's game that he doesn't always utilize as much as he should. The junior point guard has struggled with his shooting much of the season (though he was 4-7 today), so attacking the basket is a great way to create higher percentage shot. This style of play also draws attention to the paint and allows guys like Smith and Thomas open on the perimeter.

The highlight of the game came with 4:00 left in the first half, when Shannon Scott intercepted a pass in mid air then whipped it behind his back to Aaron Craft, who tossed it over his head to Thomas, who made a nice move to lay it up on the other end. Check out the video here:


With a Michigan win over Indiana later today, Ohio State would finish the season in a 3 way tie for first place in the Big Ten. OSU will have the number 2 seed in the conference tournament, which begins Wednesday in Chicago.