The #24 Ohio State Buckeyes (16-5, 3-5) trek to the challenging environment of The Kohl Center to square off against the #14 Wisconsin Badgers (17-4, 4-4). After starting the season a combined 31-0, the two teams are currently limping at 2-9 in the past month. These teams are pretty close to being in free-fall, and that they are both seeking answers is not far off the mark.
Here’s their Profile
About a year ago, in fact, almost to the week I did an opinion piece about Ohio State basketball. At that point last season, the Buckeyes were also wandering around the basketball landscape. I thought I’d take a look at what I thought then, and compare it to what I think now. Interestingly, there are some common issues from one year to the next, which may not be all that surprising, since it is essentially the same group of players and essentially the same coaching staff. For sake of comparison, I’ll leave last year’s narrative in regular font, and italicize this year’s comments. Stats are courtesy of OSU’s Athletic Site. Here we go. I’m not the only one who’s concerned.
Up to this point, this basketball season may have not met the fans and players expectations, based on a combination of their record and the way they’ve played. I realize that it seems I’m being unreasonable when the team is at 13-3, but is there really a glimmer of hope at this point that this team will go deep in the NCAA’s? I see several issues with this team at this point. I’ll address my thoughts to each of these five points, below.
We’re pretty much at the same point with a 15-4, 2-4 record, sort of, maybe. Our losses last year were “reasonable”, putting up good games against Duke and Kentucky, but getting seared by Illinois. This year, the loss at Breslin probably surprised no one, but double digit losses to Iowa and Minnesota were “bad” losses, and the Nebraska loss was a horror show.
1. This is not that good of a shooting team The Buckeyes have shot decently in aggregate for the season (46.2%, 49th in nation), but in the three losses (Duke, Kansas, Illinois) the combined was just south of 32%. Meanwhile their opponents were right around 48%. This season shooting is fairly consistent with historical numbers, not nearly as good as the past 2-3 years. They’ve also demonstrated a tendency to not shoot well against quality teams, even when quality teams weren’t blanketing OSU shooters.
The Buckeyes are shooting exactly the same aggregate as last season (46.2%) but in our three losses, OSU’s FG% was 41%, so not that bad. The recent issue is their offense being flummoxed by an opponent in a zone defense. Against Iowa, although our game FG% was a respectable 44.6%, they struggled against the zone; our money was made when Iowa was in their man-to-man defense. Against Minnesota’s zone, we shot 35%; not good at all. Against Nebraska, the team shot 39% from the field, compared to Huskers’ 50%. Same baskets, same gym. Just to show that their 24 point 2nd half against Minnesota wasn’t a fluke, they came out and scored 25 in the 1st half of the Nebraska game.
To me, the concern is that Ohio State will be see a lot of zone defense going forward, since we’ve clearly demonstrated an inability to consistently score against a zone. Frankly, we don’t have a Jon Diebler-like shooter that can enable us to “shoot” our way out of a zone. That the zone defense also takes away the offensive strength of our team by closing down driving lanes to the basket. Get Craft, Thompson and Ross slashing to the basket and good things happen. Otherwise, we get what we’ve seen recently.
This is an inconsistent team Read More
The last two weeks have not been easy, if you’re a fan of Ohio State basketball. That’s an understatement. No player on this Buckeye squad has experienced a four-game losing streak in their college careers, so this is new territory for everybody on the floor.
In fact, it’s new for the fans as well. We’re used to success in shootyhoops, so this rough patch leaves us all with a feeling of helplessness. The problem is that a number of us are going to extremes in our various versions of distress. If you know anybody that has been spouting any of the following statements, please smack ‘em upside the head and send them this article.
(By the way, these are all comments I have read online regarding the Bucks)
No, Thad Matta is not getting fired over this. Seriously, you’re throwing the guy overboard over four straight losses? How many times has he led us to 20+ wins? How many straight trips to the Sweet Sixteen does he need? You want to fire him because of the past two weeks? Do you secretly work for the Cleveland Browns front office?
No, we are not eliminated from the NCAA Tournament. For crying out loud, it’s four losses. We’re 15-4 and we have a minimum of 13 games before the dance begins. By all means, it’s no cakewalk to get through the Big Ten, but it’s also not a failed season already. 22 wins in the toughest league gets you an invite to the NCAAs. Granted, I don’t want to go 7-6 down the stretch to get there, but it would be enough.
Nobody is claiming this team is perfect and cannot be tinkered with, but perhaps you’re overreacting a bit? You’d rather start Trey McDonald, Jake Lorbach and three other guys I can’t think of instead of working on the issues the current rotation has?
Yes, Amir Williams seems to have disappeared in the paint and LaQuinton Ross can’t find his shooting touch on a consistent basis, and there are times when it seems like nobody wants to shoot the ball, but why are you tossing them on the scrap heap so easily?
Yeah, I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Perhaps you’re spoiled by success and unable to recall darker days, but that’s a pretty steep declaration.
Let’s take a look at the four losses, shall we?
Translation – these were not blowout defeats. There appears to be a struggle to close out games, and there hasn’t been any of that magic we saw vs. Notre Dame. But worst ever? Come on, man.
Let these guys figure out their issues and work on them. Trust me, nobody on the team is satisfied with what they’re doing right now. Now more than ever, they need your support, not your petty trash-talk.
Could be worse – it could be early March. There’s six weeks for them to work out their problems before it gets desperate.
I’ve loved Ohio State sports since I was a child. The scarlet and gray is family to me – and trust me, if my daughter brought home failing grades, I wouldn’t disown her and decide to try next year with a different kid. And I’d never cast aside my beloved Buckeyes, either.
The #3, for now, Ohio State Buckeyes (15-1, 2-1) return to the friendlier confines of Value City Arena Saturday afternoon to play the #20 Iowa Hawkeyes (13-3, 2-1). Ohio State is coming off an exciting, roller coaster overtime loss at Michigan State 68-72, while on Thursday, Iowa demolished Northwestern 93-67.
Here’s their Profile
For most of the second half they were dead in the water. Fans were already looking forward to Sunday’s game against Iowa.
But somehow, the Ohio State Buckeyes almost found a way.
Overcoming a 17-point deficit with seven minutes left, the Buckeyes forced overtime and nearly pulled off a stunning win over Michigan State on Tuesday, losing 72-68, at the Breslin Center.
Trailing 55-38 Ohio State turned up the pressure defensively and went on a 20-3 run, forcing turnover after turnover while finally getting hot offensively. One of the key plays was when Craft through an inbound pass off Payne’s backside and made an easy layup to cut the lead to one.
Ohio State actually had a chance to win at the end of regulation but a Shannon Scott layup rimmed out at the buzzer.
In the overtime Ohio State took it’s first lead since late in the first half when Sam “Slam” Thompson made two of three from the free-throw line, but Michigan State built a lead on 3-pointers from Kenny Kaminski and Payne. That lead quickly disappeared when Thompson hit a clutch 3-pointer with 1:13 left.
But Keith Appling hit a 3-pointer a s the shot clock wound down with 34 seconds left and OSU could not complete an overtime comeback.
Amazingly enough, OSU made the furious finish with Lenzelle Smith Jr., on the bench and Coach Thad Matta riding the hot hands of Thompson and Marc Loving.
Thompson finished with a team-high 18 points while Loving added 13. Aaron Craft and Scott each scored 9 for OSU. Appling led the Spartans (14-1, 3-0) with 20 points while Payne added 18 and Gary Harris 13. Read More
[Before I get started on the preview, I want to mention that this article is a bit of a milestone for me. It was nearly one year ago (January 1st, 2013) when my first "official" article appeared as part of tBBC Staff. The article was a preview of a men's basketball game between Ohio State and Nebraska. It's been a great year, thank you all for stopping by our corner of the Buckeye-verse and I can't believe the Editors are still letting me do this..]
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (14-0, 1-0) opened Big Ten Conference play on Tuesday with a win at Purdue. The return home for a Saturday tip-off against the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-5, 0-1).
Here’s Nebraska’s Profile
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (13-0) have done pretty well in nonconference play, and hope to continue their Big Ten opener on New Year’s Eve with a 1:00 PM EST game in West Lafayette, IN. The Boilermakers come into this game with a record of 10-3.
Here’s their Profile:
School: Purdue University
The Boilermakers (10-3) are coming off a solid road win in Morgantown, WV against The Fighting Huggins’s, 73-70. Purdue got off to a strong start (7-0), before going two for four in the Old Spice Classic. Matt Painter seems to still be trying to settle into his “starting” lineup. The basic lineup consists of 3G/2F, it’s just a matter of who gets penciled into the lineup. Two of the guard spots are filled by the Johnson Boys; Terone (6’4″) and Ronnie (6’0″). Bryson Scott and Kendall Stephens have also seen significant playing time at guard. The forward positions have been filled more often by Basil Smotherman (6’5″), Jay Simpson (6’10″) and Travis Carroll (6’9″). A.J. Hammons (7’0″) brings a good bit of size to the paint. Read More
The #3 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0) continue action in the Gotham Classic on Saturday evening by meeting Notre Dame for an evening game (7:30 PM EST, ESPN2 ) in Gotham City. The Buckeyes, after disposing of the Fightin’ Blue Hens on Wednesday, line up against the Fighting Irish. A lot of combativeness going on this week.
Here’s their Profile
School: University of Notre Dame