It was over before halftime.
After shooting 3/3 from the floor to start the game at the Kohl Center, Wisconsin took over defensively, offensively and in every single facet of the game.
After an 18-0 run was silenced by a Deshaun Thomas jumper in the first half, the Buckeyes were down 24-8 and dumb founded.
The Badgers responded like the did all night. With an answer. The cheese state phenom Sam Dekker nailed a three pointer to silence any Buckeye fan with hope in the first half with just 3:46 to play in the opening frame.
The Buckeyes would head into the locker room lacking any defensive effort minus Aaron Craft, a shooting percentage under 25% and their best scorer starting out 1/7 from the floor.
Thomas would start the second half ⅚ from the field, but Ohio State’s woes on the defensive side of the floor would continue.
Despite starting off matching the efforts of Wisconsin to open the second half, The Buckeyes got outworked, outsmarted, and out played in a game they were slated to be at the least competitive in.
This loss was the biggest deficit the Buckeyes have faced since taking on Tennessee in the 2009 tournament and coming back to win.
Youth Development — Trey McDonald and Amedeo Della Valle saw plenty of playing time in this one, and showed an improvement on the floor. McDonald got to the free throw line, and showed some interior toughness. Della Valle got into some scrums on the baseline, hit some nice shots, handled the ball well, and showed he has a strong future as a point of shooting guard in Thad Matta’s system.
Embarrassment — Call me crazy, but any time a team gets shown up on the road like this on national television, they take it to heart. It can go both ways, but hopefully this fires up the Buckeyes to finish the team with a strong physical mentality to end the season and into March.
Backcourt Defense — These guys continue to do the little things needed to win. Lenzelle Smith I’d argue is the best all around player on this team. He defended well, got to the line on a coast to coast drive to the rack, rebounded well in short time, and goes about every game the same. With intensity. The same can be said about Craft. They both might not be the scorers everyone wants them to be, but they play with an intensity that is unmatched.
Three Point Shooting — The Buckeyes went 0/9 throughout the game until ADV nailed a three from the corner midway through the second half. Every shot from behind the arc seemed forced and not set up with ball reversal and movement from inside the post and out. That’s going to happen though when you’re front court doesn’t show up with any intensity or willingness to bang with the big men of their opponent. This team needs some help buckets from the perimeter in order to win most games.
Inside Presence — Thank goodness for Trey McDonald, or we would of looked completely like a deer in the headlights. Anytime that Jared Berggren went to the paint, the interior defense watched as he went to the glass. Same can be said about Ryan Evans, who had a put back dunk late in the game, and Mike Bruesiwitz. It was ugly.
Free Throw Shooting — 3/8 is not good enough for a team that is supposed to compete in and out in the Big Ten Conference
Movement of the basketball — It’s hard to score when you are not looking to dish the ball off to the open man. The Buckeyes had 5 assists in the game and just 1 in the first half. It was all part of the theme of the night of not wanting to be there. Too many forced shots and not enough set plays to the rim. It hurts not having an offensive weapon like Jared Sullinger inside to offset opponents’ post game. It also hurts not having someone inside that can dish the ball back out for the open look.
Secondary Scoring — Nobody was in double digits beyond Deshaun Thomas and Sam Thompson. Thomas who started off slow in this one and Thompson was 5/7 from the floor but saw most of his offensive production when the game was already decided. Nobody else had more than three field goals made. If the Train isn’t rolling, the wheels fall off the tracks way too easily. And in games like this, it means there is nearly no chance of coming back to win.