Saturday, November 11, 2006

Basketball Post-Game Thoughts

We all know that the football game against Northwestern is and should be the top priority for Buckeye fans, but there isn't a lot for me to say about it. For a quality preview, if you just have to have information on Northwestern, you could check out the O-Zone's Northwestern preview.

In news that's less important but more interesting than previewing the Northwestern Wildcats, the men's basketball team opened up the season with a 107-69 win over VMI. VMI is one of those teams that believes the only bad shot is the one you don't take. Their gameplan consists of shooting the ball as quickly as possible, hoping to just miss less than the other team and/or tire them out. They had averaged 136 points per game in the preseason as they had success with that plan. Here, not so much. Bullet points!

  • OSU started three members of the Thad Five recruiting class, with Mike Conley, Jr., Othello Hunter, and David Lighty starting alongside Jamar Butler and Ron Lewis. It's a little surprising that Conley and Butler are both starting, since that gives us two point guards on the floor. But I gotta say, it works pretty well. Butler can still handle the ball, but he can take on much more of a scoring role with Conley handling point guard duties. Conley finished with ten assists, and Butler was 5-10 on threes and finished with eighteen points.
  • This lineup is a cause for concern until Greg Oden returns (arrives?). This is a four-guard offense, and Othello Hunter, while a good player and better than I expected, is not a beast down low. The team can spread the floor and hit open shots, but bigger teams with a good post player or two will give the Buckeyes trouble until Greg Oden can fill in down low.
  • This was a game that will contribute a lot of highlights. It was a very fast game, with OSU more than willing to run with VMI. The Buckeyes had roughly 96 possessions (65 is about average in the Big Ten), and quite a few of them ended with fancy dunks and alley-oops. The team had a great game offensively, but when you have that many chances against that bad of an opponent, you'd better look good.
  • Speaking of looking good, Daequan Cook looked great. He was responsible for several of those fancy dunks, and he finished with 22 points and 9 rebounds. He still needs a little work defensively, and he needs to take better care of the ball (five turnovers), but he was the player of the game last night.
  • Quick evaluation of the rest of the new players: Mike Conley made some nice passes, both of the flashy type and the fundamentally solid type, and did not look like a guy starting his first college regular season game. David Lighty was solid, but not outstanding. Othello Hunter looked pretty good down low, but grades incomplete since most of the VMI players were uninterested in venturing past the three point line. Greg Oden was well-dressed.
  • Things were pretty much status quo from last season for Jamar Butler, Ron Lewis, and Matt Terwilliger. Butler and Lewis hit the open shots and looked good, and Terwilliger was tall and kinda goofy-looking. Okay, Twiggy wasn't bad, either, though I had hoped for a little more production from him (just 4 points and 4 boards).
  • Ivan Harris didn't really impress me. He seemed to be a black hole out on the court. The ball went to him and never came out. He got the ball, he shot, he missed. He got the ball, he shot, he missed. To an extent, there's some bias here, since his numbers aren't that much worse than the aforementioned "great" ones from Cook, but he did lead the team in field goals attempted, despite playing only 20 minutes. I guess it's good that he's got that confidence, and once those shots start falling it'll be great, but as long as he's missing, I wish that he'd look to pass more.
To summarize: a good game, but it better be against VMI. The new guys didn't play like new guys. There are five or six guys on the team that can hit threes, but the team's going to miss Greg Oden's size against teams with good post players.

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