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Sometimes I sink my teeth into OSU basketball. I hope you'll enjoy the occasional commentary through out the season. My last post was after the Duke game.
10- The Non Conference Scheduling/Resume
With losses to Duke and Kansas, OSU effectively doesn't have any signature out of conference wins. Even if we played Marquette and won, that coupled with Rhode Island and Washington is pretty lackluster.
Obviously we (just like everyone else) scheduled a whole hell of a lot of tomato cans. That said, I don't feel our team grew that much in the leadup to conference play. In year's past we've had some mediocre teams that at least had wrinkles to their game which challenged us ( full court press, zones, fast tempo offense (VMI for instance), skilled big men, etc. This year, we just kicked around tomato cans and then didn't really play our best versus Kansas and Duke. Sure we optimized $ in terms of scheduling home games and such but I hope going forward we're a little more measured in scheduling. Even from a fan perspective, there wasn't much to get excited about.
9) Ravenel vs. Williams
I see it after every-game. A thread on why one is better than the other (usually Williams), with a lot of posters pointing to the Kansas game as a "I told you so" moment.
The truth is that it is a game to game thing. Williams is by far the better choice for any team with a true center with length and a post game. Ravenel is no slacker but it's a tougher matchup.
However when we go up against a team with a 6-8 to 6-10 center who isn't very intimidating, Ravenel has the offensive game to steal some points and help stretch out the opposing defense a bit.
Matta knows what he is doing here. It's not a black and white thing.
8) Missing Buford and Sullinger
I took it upon myself last year to defend Buford to the death. Yes he had bad games, but the tradeoff was having Sam Thompson or Jordan Sibert on the court instead.
Think back to last year and how much easier it was for us in the half court set. Inside to Sully who was a good passer. He developed an outside shot and could come out and open up the lane. Meanwhile ran around the perimeter off of screens and had to be accounted for with a his outside shot.
Fast forward to now, and any shot blocker can float a bit more to help without having to account for a skilled postman like Sully. Sam Thompson's offensive game is mostly above the rim dunks which means his defender can float a bit as well and help with doubling Thomas or protecting the lane.
I had some hopes that Ross and Williams could really make some serious strides and we could be close to as good as we were last year. Early results are, that's not going to happen.
7) Beware of being outgunned by bigger/better front courts
I think we're going to lose 5 more games and maybe even more. That said, I still think we can make a run. The last 2 years, we've had very complete teams. This year's team is not that, but given the right draw, they can do some damage. What we saw versus Kansas is that we're going to have a tough time versus teams with bigger/better front couts. Thomas and Williams are formidable rebounders and I am guessing with our 3 point shooting, they'll have some opportunities to get some second chance points. But against the wrong team, look out as second chance points and drives to the basket without a true shot blocker are a big part of how we score. Kansas also had the luxury of having someone who could matchup with Thomas. Probably only 15-20 teams that fit this bill, but something to think about.
6) Attacking The Basket Is A Problem
Not a lot of confidence in our guys versus man to man to attack off the dribble. Ross seems to have the best skill finishing although a small sample size. Can't always settle for jump shots. Perhaps some pick and roll action?
5) We Need To Know What Ross Can Do
Guy only player 12-20 minutes in most games. If Craft is truly banged up, I wouldn't mind sitting him a game and letting Ross cleanup more minutes off the bench. He hasn't pushed for more minutes, but there have been flashes and his strengths lineup perfectly to all of our weaknesses. Love that Scott and Thompson are improving and showing solid fundamentals in some areas where Ross is lacking, but we need to get a better feel for what Ross can do in conference play and beyond. Right now, his role in close games looks to be about 8-12 minutes a game as Matta likes him when we are winning by a good margin or losing by more than 5.
Last year we got a good look at Williams when Sully sat for Kansas. Would be wise to see what 25-32 minutes a game would look like.
4) Craft's "new and improved" jump-shot.
That thing better get figured out soon. You can literally see Craft over-thinking his shot while he's taking it. If you subtract out the first game of the season, he's shooting 24% on the year. Two 3's a game from Craft goes a LONG ways and he's going to get those looks no problem. Can't have him regress and it's probably the thing you most need to keep an eye on. It also makes it harder to have Scott and Craft both on the court if Craft is struggling from distance.
3) The pups.
I labeled Ross, Thompson, Scott, and Williams the pups, and tried to come up with a formula for their offensive production which could be the barometer if we would win. Some food for thought on the pups:
- Williams is shooting better at the line which is very important. 35% last year and 51% this year. However you take away the first handful of games and he is 57% for the year. Williams is a dude who can end up getting 4-6 attempts per game in conference play so that is one positive you hope will continue.
- Statistically Scott and Thompson are shooting better from 3 point given they were ridiculously awful last year. That said, some of these shots are just ugly (mostly Scott). I mean I know Scott made that bank three pointer, but how bad was that? Was a foot off target in each direction. This is where you have to scratch your head that we don't have a pure shooter on the roster. Sibert and Weatherspoon couldn't stroke it and transferred. People are also not accounting for the fact that Sullinger was making threes for us last year. Our style of play leads to a lot of threes and you really got to hope that Craft, Scott, Thompson begin to start finding a more consisten rhythm. Thank god not a lot of Big 10 teams use a zone as the thought of chucking up more threes is scary.
2- Thomas development
I was surprised to see Thomas show some restraint when we were losing vs. Kansas and bypassing bad shots. Also several times this year, I've been very encouraged to see him playing very sound defense against a variety of different types of players. Matta has done a hell of a job getting him to buy in to the team game.
On a tangent, is there anything more constant than Matta's usage of the swing 4 with three point range/perimeter skills?
Sylvester, Harris, Koufos, Lighty, and now Thomas.
Maybe this is where Ross ends up?
1) Prediction: Over half of our conference games will be won or lost by under 5 points. It's going to be brutal. Can't wait.
check out bloguin.com or awfulannouncing.com. Follow me @bkoo on twitter.
Our quarterback does front flips, suck it.
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