The 2013-2014 basketball season is nigh upon us; in fact tomorrow, to be exact. The #10 Ohio State Buckeyes host the Walsh University Cavaliers at Value City Arena. This is the 6th consecutive year the two teams have opened their seasons competing against each other in exhibition play. Walsh is in their 2nd season as a D-II program, moving up from the NAIA. The Cavs have made a smooth transition in arguably the best basketball conference in D2. Walsh went 18-8 last season while playing in the tough GLIAC conference.
This has been the traditional, for a few years, ‘preseason’ tune up for both teams before the start of pre-conference play. I like the fact that this involves an instate school (think Tressel scheduling YSU) as an opportunity for both teams to work out any kinks.
School: Walsh University
Location: North Canton, OH
Student Population: 3,100
School Type: Private, Catholic
Conference: Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC)
Arena: Alumni Arena
Head Coach: Jeff Young
One thing became clear on Sunday afternoon when the Ohio State Buckeyes opened their season in Exhibition play against the Walsh University Cavaliers. We weren’t given any indication on whether this team is going to win or lose more games that last year. We have no idea how deep Thad Matta’s bench is going to be. We still aren’t sure who is going to start on Friday against Wright State in the season opener.
But the one thing we can take from the court last Sunday is that this team is more athletic than ever.
We saw it from players we are accustomed to. Aaron Craft closed defenders with what seemed to be even more quickness than his freshman campaign. Though he didn’t necessarily light up the scoreboard, he showed a court savvy and leadership that Buckeye Nation has been looking for (and sometimes forgets about from last season). His 4 steals were yet again the reason why he should be considered the best on the ball defender in the country.
It’s become routine to see Jared Sullinger take over ballgames against nearly every opponent. Though it’s hard to believe, Sunday was a glimpse of what is to come this season. The 15 pounds he’s lost looks more like the shedding of a fat man suit. The chiseled sophomore controlled the boards, got up the floor faster than any other big man, and even found room on the perimeter. As a fan, it’s always encouraging to see an imposing player take his game to another level.
As an opposing coach, it seems unfair.
How do you stop a man that scores 15 points and goes 7-9 from the field in just 23 minutes of play? How do you control someone who pulled ten rebounds and gave his offense a second chance four times?
Plain and simple, you don’t.