12/22/2012: Ohio State 66 – Kansas 74 (8-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
Here we sit on the eve of conference play which the Buckeyes will begin without a “signature” win. The Buckeyes fell to Kansas yesterday in a game that was similar to the ebb and flow of the Duke game. The Buckeyes were strong in the first half, but Kansas took control in the second half and the Buckeyes could not recover. It is the third loss to Kansas in the last 12 months. It is apparent that this year’s team still needs to figure out how to close out games. Deshaun Thomas did not have the stand out game that I was anticipating. While hed led the Buckeyes in scoring, he took three shots in the last 14 minutes and missed all of them. That is not a recipe for success. Still waiting for Deshaun to breakout with a performance similar to what we saw in last year’s NCAA tournament.
Like I said in the preview, this one loss is not a make or break. That being said, it clearly demonstrates that there is work to do if this team wants to compete for a B1G championship. I know we all hate to look for moral victories, but can we agree that it is easier to find them in basketball (especillay in non-conference games)? There were a couple positive outcomes of the game. Coach Matta was pleased with the effort:
“I thought we battled. I thought we played with an element of toughness and tenacity we needed to,”
Then, he quickly summed up the loss in one sentence:
“But a lot of it just comes down to you’ve got to put the ball in the basket in a game like this, and we couldn’t do it, and it became contagious throughout.”
The buckeyes shot 30% from the field. Simply not going to get it done against an opponent like Kansas.
From a players standpoint, the best performance was turned in by Shannon Scott. Scott’s stat line – 15 pts, 6 reb, 4 asst, 2 stls. He continues to improve and IMO is quickly becoming the best point guard on the team. His play is making it difficult for Matta to keep him on the bench. If you ask me, that is bad news for Smith, Jr. and Ross because I think Matta is beginning to favor the back court duo of Scott and Craft. It will be interesting to see how this continues to develop as conference play begins. Matta has built the reputation of shortening his bench in conference games. He has stated that he feels more comfortable with his depth this year, but it remains to be seen if he will use 8 to 10 players or the typical 7 that we have been used to in the past.
Week in Preview
12/29/2012 @ 4:30 PM (BTN) Chicago State (3-11, 0-0) vs Ohio State (8-2, 0-0)
The Buckeyes will take the week off (from games) for Christmas. The Buckeyes play Chicago State next Saturday in the final scrimmage before B1G games begin on January 2nd.