Ohio State Basketball: Why Buckeyes’ Bench Will Be the Key to Postseason Success

Ohio State’s second victory of the season over Illinois had very little in the way of aesthetic value, as might be expected from a game that finishes with a 48-39 score. Games that predated the shot clock featured more offense.

The four Buckeye starters not named Aaron Craft combined to shoot 27.3 percent (6-of-22) from the floor, including 20 scoreless minutes from center Amir Williams.

Those four starters—Lenzelle Smith Jr., LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson and Williams—have combined for a .526 effective field-goal percentage this season. As a whole, the Buckeyes rank 106th in the nation in offensive efficiency, per Ken Pomeroy.

Scoring is hard for this bunch. Therefore, any player with a hot hand should be ridden for all he’s worth, whether he started the game on the court or in a folding chair wearing warm-ups.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta isn’t always keen on using his reserves when the games ramp up post-Presidents Day. This season, though, he may not have a choice. His bench players will decide how long the Buckeyes’ postseason mystery tour lasts.

Getting Back That Loving Feeling

Until he dropped eight straight points on Illinois to blow Saturday’s game open, Buckeye freshman Marc Loving was scoreless for the entire month of February.

And he knew it. Loving told the media after the game, “It was like a monkey climbed off my back,” as reported by Ari Wasserman in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Expectations rose for Loving after a strong start to…

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