To say that Buckeye Nation is filled with more skeptics and couch coaches than fans at this point in the season would be accurate. Having heard more of the “I would start this person” or “this person isn’t good” this year than years past would be an understatement.
Given the goings on the past view games it could be warranted ranting, but fans have to remember the majority of this basketball team is 20 years old and younger. They are a young group who is learning on the fly, while leaders Deshaun Thomas, Aaron Craft, and Evan Ravenel try to lead by example.
The young Buckeyes will look to get stronger as the conference and NCAA tournaments draw nearer. These Buckeyes play smothering defense at all times and score at home, as of late they have done the same on the road, shooting 54 percent on the road in the overtime loss in Ann Arbor. That’s a ton better than the 41 percent they shot as a team at Illinois.
After hosting arguably the best team in college basketball and getting taught a big lesson, the Buckeyes look to get back on track when they host the Northwestern Wildcats on Valentines Day. Even though the Wildcats aren’t a power house basketball team, the Buckeyes should not look past them.
They could very easily be starring at their first three game losing streak since William Buford’s freshman year, a streak that oddly enough started on Valentines Day in 2009. That Buckeyes team lost two road games, at Wisconsin and at Northwestern, then returned home to be beat by the then number 16 team in the country the Illinois Fighting Illini.
These Buckeyes will most assuredly not be taking this game likely given the two previous losses on the table. The overtime loss to that team up north was heartbreaking, as the Buckeyes out played them on their own court but came up just a bit short. The Buckeyes then returned home and ran into the buzz saw that is Tom Creen’s Indiana Hoosiers and were just out played.
Although the scoreboard from the past two games have not been on the friendly side, the young Buckeyes have shown improvement in the form of Sophomore Trey McDonald who was forced into action when Evan Ravenel and Amir Williams both caught a couple of early fouls against Indiana.
Also showing a vast improvement, a very potent scorer who will learn about playing team defense as he gains experience, fellow sophomore LaQuinton Ross, the Buckeyes have been looking for a consistent secondary scorer to take pressure off of Deshaun Thomas and they may have found it in the form of Ross.
With ¾ of this team being in their first or second year, saying they are young is an understatement, but these Buckeyes are gaining great experience in each game they play moving forward.
Thad Matta is trying building his program around players that are willing to learn and not just recruiting those “one and done” players that everyone else seems to covet. Matta has had great success in his tenure with The Ohio State University. He is and always will be a defensive minded coach, so once his team learns it’s defensive worth, they will then, at that point find out their offensive value.
So Buckeye Nation I ask you, Can we curb the judgments and the couch coaching until March to see if this team will actually come together and play like it is capable of playing. We all love our Buckeyes and understand the emphasis put on winning at “our” university, but lets give or current roster a chance to be successful. Besides Jared Sullinger and William Buford aren’t walking through that door to help out.
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