Monday, December 18, 2006

Florida Week

If you're willing to overlook Iowa State's basketball team (and I am, so long as Thad Matta and company aren't), then we've reached a rather unusual part of the year, wherein the next opponent for both the football and basketball teams is the same school. Yes, it's Florida Week.

This follows a thorough beatdown of the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday. At the end of the first half, the Bearcats had 14 points. Ohio State had three times that. The game was never in doubt, which is especially impressive considering that the Buckeyes didn't shoot especially well, hitting just 26.1% of their threes and 43.1% of all their shots. But they got an extra 16 points from their 23 free throw attempts, and more importantly, Cincinnati shot even worse. The Bearcats hit 2 of 24 threes (8.3%), and just 26% overall. All of this is attributable in no small part to Greg Oden. When the shots aren't falling from outside, having an inside scoring presence comes in handy. And with a seven-feet tall shot blocking machine in the middle, the Buckeyes are free to go crazy on perimeter defense. So teams shoot outside, because they can't get shots off inside, which plays right into Ohio State's hands. Perimeter defense has been a strong suit of the Buckeyes since Matta arrived, and now that it only takes one player to adequately defend inside the arc, the perimeter D only gets stronger. The end result was a blowout, even with poor shooting from the Buckeyes.

So now the Buckeyes (after the ISU game on Tuesday) turn their attention to Florida. The football team beat the defending national champs at their place early in the season; now it's the basketball team's chance to do the same. A full preview will be coming later, but at a glance, it'll be an interesting matchup. Florida has experience, obviously, but that's not all. They have size in Al Horford (6'10") and Joakim Noah (6'11"). Neither is as big as Oden, but both are very good. Florida also has depth. Like Ohio State, none of their players average more than 30 minutes per game. Both teams also have nine players averaging at least ten minutes per game. It looks like it will be a heck of a matchup. If you're a fan of the Buckeyes, or basketball in general, you have to be looking forward to it.

And, of course, there's the matter of that bowl game coming up January 8th for the football team. Again, I'll save a preview for later, but I think you'll hear a thing or two about it as it gets closer. It's a pretty big game, I understand.

No comments: