Sunday, March 06, 2005

Wait a minute ... Matt Sylvester scored 25?!?

Above: No, seriously. Matt Sylvester.

What else is there to say? The madness of March has begun in earnest...

Above: I don't feel the slightest bit dirty about how much I enjoyed this article.

The most shocking thing? The bizarre emergence of Sylvester, the most disappointing Buckeye hoops recruit in years this side of Brandon Fuss-Cheatham. Coming into yesterday's game, I strongly, honestly felt that losing those two next year was gonna be a classic case of addition by subtraction. By 2:10 p.m., I had realized 2 things: 1.) Matt Sylvester is a junior, and 2.) he has honestly developed into a not-half-bad secondary scoring option behind Terence Dials.

Thanks to Illinois's interesting strategic maneuver of using small forward Roger Powell on Dials - thus leaving F/C James Augustine on the 6'7" Sylvester, a quicker, ballhandling forward - Sylvester ran wild, especially in the second half. It was truly on odd experience to see OSU with a legitimate go-to guy in Dials, and it was even weirder to see them with an honest-to-God, viable second option if Dials was covered. We haven't had a real, quality go-to guy since Michael Redd was here (although arguments can be made that Brian Brown in '02 and Brent Darby in '03 were more than solid), and it's nice to have confidence in our scoring at the end of games again.

So Sylvester was playing a great game all game. And then came the shot. Sure, I thought it was taken a little quickly, but that's why Thad Matta is a fantastic coach and I'm just a jackass sitting at a computer. What matters is that Sylvester lined up the shot, stroked it with confidence, and buried it. He has always had the confidence to take the reins of the offense, and it was often to his - and the team's - detriment. But he was eating Augustine and the Illini alive yesterday in the last few minutes. Trust me, I was just as shocked as everyone else.

So the Bucks can wrap up a 20-win season with a win in Chicago against Penn State on Thursday. Not a bad first season for Matta. Only losing Stockman and Fuss-Cheatham (and not Sylvester, apparently) next year, the future looks exciting in the C-Bus.

Above: Look at you! You want to kiss me! YES!


At 4:54 PM, March 07, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work with the Tribune story. I didn't feel dirty at all either.
One of my favorite things from yesterday that some might have missed was Thad Matta at the press conference describing the timeout before Sylvester's 3 : "Each coach met with me and gave me their thoughts. I thought about it for a second and I said 'Fuck that, we're going for the win'."

(Actually, at the press conference, he said "Blank that." But I'm guessing he dropped the F-bomb at the time).

- 24 hrs. later and I'm still a bruised and juicy Nips


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