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
Welcome to another episode of Musings. A few odds & ends this week. Have your coffee? Good, let’s get to this.
More good news from the medical front this week. It’s a two-fer this week.
OHIO STATE CANCER LEADER DR. CALIGIURI ELECTED TO AACR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Dr. Michael A. Caligiuri, who leads the The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James), is one of five distinguished scientists elected by members of the American Association for Cancer Research to serve on the AACR Board of Directors for the 2013 to 2016 term.
OHIO STATE CANCER RESEARCHER SELECTED FOR FIRST CLASS OF FELLOWS OF AACR ACADEMY
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Dr. Carlo Croce, chair of the department of molecular virology, immunology, and medical genetics; and director of Human Cancer Genetics at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC–James), is among 106 scientists selected by the American Association for Cancer Research to be in the first class of the Fellows of the AACR Academy.
Junior Deshaun Thomas has elected to forgo his senior season at Ohio State and become eligible for the NBA Draft. The 6’7″ forward averaged 14.4 points per game as a Buckeye, scoring 1630 points in three years, while averaging 5 rebounds per game, and shooting nearly 48 % from the field.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana — Thomas is considered by many as a first round draft pick. Well known for his offensive production, Thomas put Ohio State on his back at points during his junior season. Averaging just under 20 points per game and starting in all 37 games played this season.
And when it mattered most in his Ohio State career, he stepped it up. Thomas is the second all time leading scorer in Buckeye tournament history. His 62 tournament rebounds are also fourth all-time in school history.
In a prepared release by the Ohio State Communications department, Thad Matta talked about Deshaun’s development as a player the last three years.
To see Deshaun grow into the man he has become has been amazing. His accomplishments on the floor speak for themselves but I am just as proud of him and what he has done off the floor. We recruited him offering the opportunity to grow as a person and player and that is exactly what happened. I know there is much more in-store for him in the future and I am proud to have been able to coach him.
Thomas will spend time between Columbus and Indianapolis preparing for the NBA Draft.
Basketball season is officially over. Depending on your perspective on how you look at the season’s overall content, this year was either a huge overachieving success or a flaming disaster. It’s Wednesday night, let’s rumble!
There really is no better word for the majority of Buckeye Nation’s overriding feeling on Saturday night after the final horn sounded. They were shocked, me included.
How could Wichita State seemingly blow the doors off of our beloved Buckeyes for the better part of 30 minutes and hang on to eliminate the West region’s number 2 seed? How could a Buckeye team that only two weeks ago in Chicago appeared to be finally hitting its stride look so terrible in a regional final with a trip to the Final Four on the line?
After a weekend filled with excitement and disappointment, it’s a bit of a quiet mood at tBBC headquarters. We like baseball, and know that OSU sports are amazing even if not the “got to be on television” variety, but I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that there’s a bit of a let down these days. Ah well… only two songs possible for today’s soundtrack. Onward.
Another Tuesday, another week, another month. Grab your coffee and let’s dive in.
Welcome to a special Ohio State men’s basketball edition. Now that, as far as we’re concerned, basketball season is on, it may be time for some reflection. This article is in two parts; first some commentary on the Ohio State – Wichita State game, then thoughts on the season in general.
Ohio State – Wichita State
Before I get too far into this, I want to acknowledge the beautifully conceived and executed game plan on the part of Gregg Marshall and his WSU team. They clearly identified OSU’s weaknesses and exploited them.
On to Part the First. I was in Ohio over Easter weekend getting some high quality family time, so I did not participate in the ingame live blog, which was probably good, all things considered. What follows are some comments/questions that arose around our television Saturday evening.
The 1st half was as big a clinker as I’ve seen this team have in some time. The offense seemed to me to be completely out of sorts and very passive, settling for jump shots. There seemed to be no ‘learning’ from the 2nd of the Arizona game where aggressive play created higher percentage FG opportunities. The 22 points in Saturday’s 1st half were “driven” by the 24% shooting, and a strange, awful appearance of ‘Bo Ball’. The Buckeyes were 2-10 from 3’s and only attempted 7 free throws. For 20 minutes, Ohio State managed to out-Wisconsin Wisconsin.
At this point, the game turned into Greek myth/tragedy, with the part of Sisyphus played by Ohio State. Six minutes into the game, OSU took the lead, held it for approximately one minute, and then was faced with a series of uphill climbs for the rest of the game. The Buckeyes just couldn’t get any scoring runs going. Since WSU did a good job of getting back on defense, OSU couldn’t get the breakaway baskets they needed and had to resort to a half-court offense, which frankly, isn’t the best.
In January I did a little piece on how I saw the basketball team, up to that point in the season. I harped on five issues, let’s revisit them to see what had changed in the last two and a half months. You may need to toggle between articles. Take your time.
1. This is not that good of a shooting team, particularly in key games
I didn’t think so then, I don’t think so now. Back then they were shooting 46.1%, good for 52nd nationally. The Buckeyes ended the season shooting 45.1%, good for 79th position.
2. This is an inconsistent team
I don’t believe this point has changed much either. Generally, OSU tended to start their games very slow, muddle through the first half’s, then play much more focused and with more energy in the second half.
3. This is a team with no legitimate post presence.
This became more obvious as the season progressed. The Buckeyes played their best ball when they went ‘small’. The formula that ‘Dr. Thad’ concocted was to start Amir Williams to win the opening tip then make substitutions at the first media time out.
4. This team is not fun to watch
They didn’t bore us to death, that’s for sure. This is one issue where I’ve changed my mind. As Thad settled on his starting lineup and substitution patterns, it seemed like the players began to gel as a true team. After the ‘Mauling in Madison’, I think the players stepped up to take responsibility for their actions and executing the game plan. And the results showed. If nothing else, this aspect can be taken as a huge win for the coaches and the players.
5. Coaching Impact
Just to be clear, this pertains to player development, not coaching strategies, etc. My bone of contention was that I had not seen significant, if any, improvement between sophomore and junior years of Craft, Smith Jr and Thomas. My position hasn’t changed on that. However, I saw significant improvement in sophomores Sam Thompson, LaQuinton Ross, and (at the very end of the season) a glimmer of hope this year Amir Williams. Now, if these three can show same improvements between their sophomore to junior year as they did this year, I’d say Thad & Staff have done a very good job.
Not really, no.
My brother and I were discussing this over Sunday morning coffee when he made the observation that ‘ maybe Ohio State overachieved this year.’ The team lost 32 points per game (Sullinger/Buford) and the returning three starters (Thomas/Craft/Smith Jr) contributed 31 ppg. Losing half of your starters’ offensive output provided some challenges of where to find it.
This team may also have been ‘victimized’ by expectations that were set too high. The Buckeyes started out ranked #4 in the country. Why & how eludes me; clearly people should have known that ‘Sully’ and ‘Buf’ had moved on..
Finally, I had commented several times/several places during the course of the season that it would not have surprised me if OSU would lose 10 games during the regular season, due in great part to the above five issues (silly me). The fact that this team came together to finish the season having won 12 of their last 14 games, with an 11 game win streak tossed in, speaks volumes to how the players and coaches figured it out. This speaks very well for all of them.
Some weekend, eh? Grab your coffee and let’s get right to it.
A week that started out fairly well, then crashed and burned. In the NCAA’s, they’ve managed to dust Iowa State 78-75, Arizona 73-70 and then fell flat against Wichita State 66-70. I don’t have much to add to the fine recaps, above, however you can bet that after some musing on my part, I’ll have something to say next week. It seemed that Thad was pushing the right buttons and the team responded in the first two games. On Saturday, things were pretty disjointed. I’d hoped the 2nd half effort against Arizona would carry into the WSU game, but alas, no. Although the offense gott significant points from
senior junior DeShaun Thomas and LQR, that was it, unfortunately.
I hate to do this, but let’s start with a definition: to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest: to hate the enemy. Read More
The Buckeyes are in the Elite Eight, and playing the Wichita State Shockers for a trip to the Final Four. For more on the Shockers, check out Ken’s work from yesterday.
Join us and The Buckeye Blog, Buckeye Empire, Men of the Scarlet and Gray, and Buckeye Ninja as we cheer on the Buckeyes in tournament time! The chat will kick off around 6:50 PM Eastern, with tip off on CBS around 7:05 pm.
Special thanks to Fox Sports Ohio for graciously helping with these livechats all year long!