Saturday, February 5

I'm still here too!

The Buckeyes basketball team looks good, real good. They currently stand at 23-0 - the only unbeaten team in the nation - and ranked #1. They recently struggled to get wins over Northwestern and michigan, but in the case of the game in Evanston, it’s usually not easy to win conference games on the road - especially in the loaded Big Ten. As for that school up north, a win over them is always fun, no matter the sport. (I don’t really care for the NBA and don’t follow the Cavs nearly as much as their fellow Clevelanders, but I cannot stress enough how much I HATE the fact that scum grad Manny Harris is playing a significant role on the team. He has been my most hated baller since Chris Webber was getting paid up north. But I digress.) Before those two games, you had to be impressed with Ohio St’s domination over a top-notch Purdue team. (Boilermakers forward JaJaun Johnson is for sure on my All-American team, along with Duke's Nolan Smith, UConn's Kemba Walker, BYU's Jimmer Fredette, and of course our very own Jared Sullinger.)

Watching this freshman class, I can’t help but be reminded of the ‘07 squad that lost to Florida in the title game. Stop me if this sounds familiar - a dominant big man, a feisty, do-it-all point guard, and an instant-offense sixth man that is money from beyond the arc. The difference between the Greg Oden/Mike Conley/Daquan Cook team and the Jared Sullinger/Aaron Craft/Deshaun Thomas team is the supporting cast. While I loved Jamar Butler, Ivan Harris and Ron Lewis (remember Lewis’ ridiculous three to beat Xavier? My favorite all-time tournament game.), the current team has a ton of experience, lights out three point shooting, and Dallas Lauderdale.

Speaking of Swat-erdale, he needs to get more minutes. I cannot tell you how frustrated I was watching that michigan game where Dallas got 0 (zero!) minutes in the second half. Jared Sullinger is a stud, and he will be worthy of his top 5 pick in the upcoming NBA draft, but he is not yet ready defensively to go one-on-one with quality big men. michigan freshman Jordan Morgan ate Sully alive in the second half of that game, yet the Swat Team was nowhere to be found. Get the big fella on the court!

If there is one thing to be concerned about with this Buckeyes team, it is foul shooting. Wisconsin tops the conference, shooting 82% as a team from the line. OSU has one player that reaches that mark (barely), and that’s Deshaun Thomas, who comes off the bench and shoots 84%. Jon Diebler and Will Buford shoot around 80%, but the rest of the team is embarrassing. For as a solid, all-around player that Craft is, it’s surprising that he only shoots 70% from the stripe, and the captain and leader of the squad, David Lighty, shoots a paltry 64%. Oh yeah, and my boy Dallas is rockin 28%. No, that’s not a typo, .286 is what he shoots from the line. I will be very nervous in close games come March if they don't improve.

Let’s look on the bright side though. Diebler, Buford, Craft and Lighty all hit over 40% of their 3’s, including a stupid good 48% from Diebs (he will top the Big Ten’s all-time career list by season’s end). Things will get tougher for the Bucks as the regular season comes to a close, as they still have to go to Minnesota, Purdue, and Penn St, have Illinois and Michigan St in Value City, and play Wisconsin twice. I think it will be good for them to lose a game or two before tourney time, just so these freshman know what it’s like and don’t get lackadaisical (and so everyone doesn't pick them in their brackets, because I would like to be the only one). It sure is fun to watch them win though.


1 comment:

Andy said...

I liked that logo.

This team has looked impressive the two times I've seen them play - as you pointed out, they have a lot of balance and different ways to score, and Matta's teams are always solid defensively.

Don't sweat Harris - I don't think he'll be around long. Were you aware that his real name is "Corperryale L'Adorable Harris"? There's really no excuse for that. Instead of worrying about this cat, I'd focus on Christian Eyenga, who almost makes the CaVs watchable.