Tuesday, January 20, 2009

OSU MEN'S HOOPS: Bucks show their weaknesses

Tuesday night in Champaign, Illinois, the Ohio State Buckeyes basketball team showed two glaring weaknesses.

The first weakness is that they don't seem to possess a core of players who can shoot somebody's eyes out. Evan Turner and Jon Diebler have shown signs at times this season, but are far too inconsistent to be a factor come Big Ten tourney time. 

Both sophomore players combined for just 10 points in Tuesday's loss to Illinois on 4-of-12 shooting.

Buckeyes freshman, William Buford (Toledo Libbey), has emerged as a scoring threat for Thad Matta's squad, dropping in double figures in eight of the Buckeyes' last nine games, including 19 and 15 in respective wins against Indiana and Michigan.

However, Buford's scoring will not get the Buckeyes to where they want to be, if he doesn't get some help from his teammates, most notably, Turner and Diebler.

The other shortcoming for the Buckeyes is their noticeable hole at the point guard position. This team is playing without a quarterback. Jeremie Simmons and P.J. Hill, along with freshman Walter Offutt, lack the court vision and play making ability to tangle with the NCAA big boys — especially when they don't have a player on the team who can fill it up on a consistent basis.

When you look back at the past few seasons and see players like Mike Conley Jr. and Jamar Butler playing at the point for the Buckeyes, and then you look at this season's group, that hole at the one spot looks like the Grand Canyon.

Also, Coach Matta must get freshman center B.J. Mullens more minutes. The 7-0, 275-pounder from Canal Winchester has been a force in the paint for the Buckeyes in limited action this season, averaging 8.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in less than 20 minutes per game.

Playing the big man for less than a half per game is totally unacceptable.