If Ohio State wants to keep any chance of winning a fourth consecutive Big Ten Championship, it must defend its home court in conference play.
The Buckeyes did that tonight, defeating Iowa, 72-63.
After a tough road loss to Michigan State on Saturday, the Buckeyes rebounded at home against an inferior opponent. As long as OSU wins all of the games it is supposed to win, the Buckeyes will be in position to compete for that Big Ten title.
Let’s take a look at some of tonight’s action, both good and bad:
1. Aaron Craft is not a scorer, we know this. But with a first half steal, Craft broke Jay Burson’s all-time record for steals at Ohio State. Craft–just a junior–has an opportunity to put some serious distance between he and Burson by the time his OSU career is complete.
2. In limited minutes, LaQuinton Ross continues to show promise. I still haven’t figured out why he hasn’t been playing much in the bigger games, especially with OSU’s inability to score points in stretches. But against Iowa, Ross had seven points and five rebounds in limited action. He did commit four turnovers, though.
3. I’m ready to say that OSU is as good as any team in the country defensively. OSU held Iowa to just 25% shooting in the first half and 36% for the game. The defense will keep the Buckeyes in every game they play this season, the question–as it has been all year–is can they find enough points.
1. Rebounding was a huge issue in this contest. For the game, Iowa out rebounded OSU 34-31. But, OSU allowed Iowa to grab 21 offensive rebounds. That is unacceptable.
2. You would have liked to see OSU come out and dominate the second half, but it didn’t do that. Iowa had a 20-4 run at one point in the second half, right when it looked like the Buckeyes might put the Hawkeyes away. You would like to see OSU put teams like Iowa away early in the second half and keep them there.
3. The scoring balance was a little better than it was against Michigan State, but with six minutes remaining in the game Deshaun Thomas was still the only Ohio State player in double figures. Thomas led OSU with 16 points.
The game got closer than it should have late in the second half, but the Buckeyes defended their home court. Next up is a trip to Happy Valley on Saturday for a date with Penn State.