"Thad Matta" tag

Ohio State Basketball: Position-by-Position Breakdown of Matchup vs. Dayton

Ohio State and Dayton are too close in proximity—the two campuses sit merely an hour apart—to have played each other in basketball only six times in their history. The NCAA tournament selection committee, in its quest for juicy television storylines, decided to remedy that issue by matching the Flyers and Buckeyes in a second-round matchup from Buffalo, N.Y. (Thursday, 12:15 ET, CBS). The sixth-seeded Buckeyes have righted the ship, winning nine of their last 13 after a 3-5 Big Ten start, although losses to Penn State and Indiana are cause for sustained concern. No. 11 seed Dayton has stormed to 10 wins in its last 12 games, not losing to any team other than St. Joseph’s since Jan. 25. Like Ohio State, the Flyers had to pick themselves up off the canvas after a four-game losing streak early in conference play. These two teams have a lot in common, but who has the advantage heading into this rare head-to-head Buckeye State battle? Read on as we examine the matchup position by position. All KenPom.com links should be assumed to require subscription. Begin Slideshow

Ohio State Basketball: 5 Biggest Questions for Buckeyes in 2014 NCAA Tournament

It’s time to wipe the slate clean for the Ohio State basketball team. For as frustrating as this up-and-down season has been for Buckeye fans who had Final Four aspirations before the year began, a few wins in the NCAA tournament would cancel out the multiple losses to Penn State, the season-long rebounding woes, the clanked free throws, the heartbreaking loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament and the fact that this team only appears comfortable when facing a double-digit deficit. All Your Bracket Essentials: Download the Printable Bracket Follow the Latest Bracket Updates Live Play the Free Bracket Challenge But the only way the Buckeyes are going to advance in the Big Dance is if they answer a number of questions. Here are five of them. Can Ohio State make its three-pointers? Ohio State’s three-point shooting, or lack thereof, becomes of particular concern if the Buckeyes beat Dayton and face Syracuse in the round of 32. The Orange play a 2-3 zone almost exclusively, which means opponents will have to hit perimeter shots if they plan on walking away with a victory. Considering the fact Ohio State shot less than 33 percent as a team this year and doesn’t have a single player shooting better than LaQuinton Ross’ 36 percent, this could be an issue. Asked if he was worried about this potential matchup, coach Thad Matta seemed to have the one-game-at-a-time mentality that is necessary in March, via Kyle Rowland…

Bracket Lames: Big TENse, top-rated league could fall short again (The Dagger: College Basketball Blog)

Aaron Craft is super glue. He sticks to everything. Tenacious and tireless on defense, he is the reason why the Buckeyes rank No. 4 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency and top-20 in five additional defensive categories.

Ohio State Basketball: Predictions for Buckeyes in the Big Ten Tournament

It has been a roller coaster of a 2013-14 season for the Ohio State men’s basketball team, but with the Big Ten tournament upon us, the slate is officially wiped clean. From here on out, the Buckeyes will be playing in a win-or-go-home scenario, be it in Indianapolis for the conference tournament or the Big Dance itself the following week. If they win in the postseason, those head-scratching losses to Penn State will mean absolutely nothing. On the flip side, early exits would more than negate impressive victories at Wisconsin, at Iowa and over Michigan State. Thad Matta is no stranger to success in Indianapolis, as the Buckeyes have captured three of the past four Big Ten tournament crowns, including the one from last year. What’s more, Ohio State should have a degree of confidence as the No. 5 seed heading into Thursday’s tilt with No. 12 Purdue, and not only because the scarlet and gray are 2-0 against the Boilermakers this year. The Buckeyes edged out Michigan State in a hard-fought two-point victory to close the regular season, capitalizing on a strong defense that held the Spartans scoreless for the final 4:30. It was only fitting that Aaron Craft made the most important defensive play of the game on his senior day by lunging in front of Adreian Payne and grabbing the critical loose ball on the floor with less than a minute left. Even in defeat, Tom Izzo complemented Craft in his postgame press conference, via Kyle Rowland of Eleven…

Ohio State Basketball: Projected Roles for Buckeyes’ 2014 Recruiting Class

If Ohio State’s basketball season was any more of a roller-coaster, half their fanbase would have puked over the side of the car by now. Undoubtedly, some already have, but that’s a different story. The Buckeyes’ typically fierce defense has been overshadowed by an offense that hasn’t been able to get out of its own way. Against Indiana last Sunday, Ohio State could only make one—yes, ONE—shot outside the paint in the entire game. As might be expected, such a drought led to OSU’s eighth Big Ten loss of the season, the school’s most in the last five years. A season that began with measured optimism has settled into a fog of unmet expectations and disappointment, even though it’s still going to end somewhere in the NCAA tournament. A hot March run with a couple of tournament victories isn’t completely out of the question, but it’s doubtful anyone who hasn’t overdosed on scarlet Kool-Aid is betting the mortgage on such an event. As such, it may be time to begin looking forward. Ohio State’s 2014 recruiting class currently ranks sixth nationally, according to 247 Sports, and coach Thad Matta hopes he’s still not done. Even if he is, the incoming talent could cure a lot of ills if it all pans out as it should. Shot(s) in the Arm Fans who attend Ohio State games to watch great three-point shooting may as well attend NASCAR races to watch for judicious use of turn signals. Both groups are completely wasting their time. According to KenPom.com, the…

Ohio State Basketball: Why Upping the Tempo Will Be Crucial to Buckeyes’ Success

The term “Jekyll and Hyde” is a cliche that is used far too often in sports, but there’s really no other way to describe the effort put forth by Ohio State’s basketball team on Saturday against Minnesota. The Buckeyes tried their best to give everyone in the Schottenstein Center a migraine in the first half when it scored 18 points. The offense was basically let the ball-handlers lower their head and run straight into the teeth of the zone. Fortunately for the Scarlet and Gray, the Golden Gophers only scored 28 themselves and kept the game within striking distance. Ohio State came out of the locker room and immediately pushed the tempo for the rest of the game. Before Minnesota even knew what hit it, the Buckeyes scored 17 straight points in a decisive 27-5 run. After a 46-18 second-half outburst, Ohio State took the game 64-46 and possibly set a precedent for the offense as the season’s stretch run approaches. Thad Matta has the personnel to run an uptempo scheme like he did in the second half on Saturday. Whether he chooses to do so or not for the final three regular-season games and the tournaments will ultimately define the season. Just a quick glance at the roster reveals players like Aaron Craft, Shannon Scott, Lenzelle Smith Jr., Sam Thompson, LaQuinton Ross, Amedeo Della Valle and Marc Loving. That is plenty of athleticism and depth to start consistently running, even if Amir Williams and Trey McDonald aren’t exactly built to be…

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…

Ohio State Basketball: Will Win over Wisconsin Spark Buckeyes’ Turnaround?

The Ohio State basketball team has lost five of its past seven games, but it’s a lot easier to look at things through a glass half-full perspective after winning at the always difficult Kohl Center.

In fact, Thad Matta has …

Ohio State Basketball: Should Thad Matta Change Up Buckeyes’ Rotation?

Apparently, the best way to end a four-game losing streak in conference play is by having the fortune of playing a squad that is currently stuck in a six-game losing streak of its own. Ohio State’s victory over Illinois was an affront to offensive basketball everywhere, as both teams struggled mightily from the field in the first half and combined for 27 turnovers. The Buckeyes were able to win and finally break free from their struggles because they got hot from behind the three-point line in the second half. However, a seven-point win at home against an Illini team that looks downright awful right now isn’t enough to inspire confidence with road trips to Wisconsin and Iowa looming as two of the next three games. The glass half-full approach would look at the second half of the Illinois game as a potential turning point, with Lenzelle Smith Jr. and LaQuinton Ross hitting multiple threes and the offense looking functional for the first time in a while. A more realistic approach would suggest that had more to do with Illinois than the team that just lost to Nebraska. Would a switch to the starting lineup or the regular rotation give the Buckeyes a much-needed spark? Not that long ago, it would have been absurd to even suggest a change to Thad Matta’s rotation. Ohio State was sitting pretty at 15-0 and was ranked as high as No. 3 in the country. The scarlet and gray looked dominant at Marquette, controlled the entire game against Maryland and shocked…

Ohio State Basketball: Amir Williams Is the Buckeyes’ Key to Success in 2013-14

Former NBC Sports college hoop blogger Troy Machir—now with The Sporting News—and I exchanged Twitter one-liners last month regarding Ohio State center Amir Williams. Troy was discussing players who’ve seemingly been in college a long time. As little as he’s produced, some aren’t aware he ever got to college. RT @TroyMachir: Amir Williams still in college? Add him. #VanWilderAA — Scott Henry (@4QuartersRadio) November 21, 2013 At the time we had that conversation, Williams was already putting the lie to my joke with a pair of double-figure scoring games, one a 14-point, 10-rebound effort against Ohio. Since then, Williams has brought down a career-high 16 rebounds in a win over Wyoming and scored in double figures three more times. That gives him six games of 10-plus points on the season, up from last season’s career high of… …one. The point is that Williams, a former McDonald’s All-American, has been practically invisible during his first two seasons in Columbus. As a junior, however, he looks like he’s put it all together, so much so that he’s become the single most important Buckeye in the entire tree. Yes, even more important than Aaron Craft, LaQuinton Ross or YouTube magnet Sam “Slam” Thompson. Better Shape—Physically and Mentally It all started with the endless miles over the summer. Williams was forced into better shape, and according to OSU’s campus newspaper The Lantern, he dragged the rest of the team with him kicking…

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