Week of 12/30- 1/5 Review
Ohio State 70 Nebraska 44
Finishing off of a solid, yet unimpressive 10-2 non-conference schedule, the Buckeyes began B1G play on January 2nd versus the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The ‘Huskers traveled to Value City Arena with an inflated 9-4 record and ranking in the bottom half of the country in almost every single statistical category. The Buckeyes came out hot and displayed their best defensive performance of the season, allowing only 17 points in the first half and 44 for the game. Deshaun Thomas led all scorers with 22 points and actually outscored the Cornhuskers all by himself 18-17 at the half. Once again, their perimeter defense was excellent, holding Nebraska’s shooters to only %28 (6-21) from beyond the arc. Aaron Craft had a solid night distributing the ball with 8 assists and 0 turnovers, but shot 0-4 from the field and finished with 0 points. He needs to be an option offensively for this team to succeed, or we will be seeing his defender start to sag off of him, clogging the passing lanes and daring him to shoot. With a showdown in Champaign, Illinois on the horizon, the Buckeyes took care of business like they were supposed to and sent the ‘Huskers back to Lincoln with a bad taste in their mouths.
Ohio State 55 Illinois 74
Illinois fell to Purdue in their B1G opener and it seemed like the perfect time for the Buckeyes to take advantage of a team that was coming off of an upset. Think again. The Illini handed Thad Matta one of his most lopsided losses of his career and it was not even as close as the scoreboard indicated. The Buckeyes have not won a true road game this season and do not have one quality win on their resume. This will become a problem come selection Sunday with the B1G being the strongest conference in all of college basketball. Brandon Paul led the Illini with 19 points and their 6-11 center Nnanna Egwu had a great game with 16 points and 8 rebounds. Deshaun Thomas dropped 24 points on 9-21 shooting, but struggled against the Illini defense to really find his shot. The Buckeyes have massive offensive troubles and if Thomas is struggling they really do not have second and third options like years past. This needs to be figured out quickly with Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana and Minnesota all on the horizon.
Week of 1/6- 1/12 Preview
Tuesday January 8th
The Buckeyes are hoping to bounce back after their blow out loss against Illinois by traveling to Purdue, the same team that defeated the Ilini the game before. This gives the Buckeyes a chance to get their first real road victory of the season against a .500 team who plays pretty well at home. The Boilermakers are one of the better rebounding teams in the country, averaging 41 rebounds a game, which could translate into a problem for the Buckeyes who have struggled on the glass in their losses. Ohio State can limit Purdue beyond the arc as they are shooting a modest %28 from three point land. The Boilermakers are very young but they are scrappy on the boards with freshman 7 footer A.J Hammons who averages 10 points and 6 rebounds a game. Offensively the Buckeyes need to worry about Terone Johnson, he led Purdue with 25 points in their upset win over Illinois. This is a good game for Ohio State to get back on track before they host the #2 Michigan Wolverines on Sunday.