Offense Expected Against Marquette This Year

Marquette and Ohio State played one of the most offensively challenged games of the season last year. This time around, coach Thad Matta expects a "high octane" game.

When preparing for his team’s contest with Marquette tonight, coach Thad Matta needn’t look at the tape from last year’s game between Ohio State and the Golden Eagles.

That's not only because it won’t help much with tonight’s 7:30 p.m. tipoff – Marquette has a new coach and nearly half the roster has been overturned since last season’s game – but because that video would be hard to watch.

“That was brutal,” Matta said of that game.

The Buckeyes won 52-35, but the offensive struggles of both teams made it a hard game to watch. The teams went to halftime tied at 19. The Golden Eagles shot just 19 percent for the game, and while the Buckeyes finished shooting at a 42.3 percent clip, their first half rate was just 26.9 percent.

“I thought maybe the first one to 20 was going to win that game,” Matta said. “Hopefully it will be a little higher scoring, I would presume. It’s funny because in that particular game, we did what we needed to do to win the basketball game.”

Things should be different this time around. The Buckeyes (1-0) have five rotation players who didn’t play in last year’s contest, while former Duke assistant Steve Wojciechowski is now the head coach at Marquette (1-0).

Both teams are coming off wins over lesser competition, Ohio State 92-55 over UMass-Lowell and Marquette 79-63 over Tennessee-Martin.

The Golden Eagles push the tempo offensively, setting up in a half-court set predicated on ball screens and spacing. Defensively they often go into a full-court press after made baskets.

While the Buckeyes are sure to be challenged more by Marquette than they were by the River Hawks, the style of play may be conducive to Ohio State’s desire to get out and run on offense. It will be the second game in a row where the Buckeyes have a significant size advantage as no one on the Golden Eagles is above 6-7.

“They might be small, but they have a lot of pressure defenses that we are going to have to be ready for, a lot of players that can press us and really pressure the ball,” Buckeyes’ point guard Shannon Scott said. “It would be ideal for us to score more than 52 points. If we can hold them to not scoring a lot of points, we’re going to win the game too.”

The Buckeyes have been able to approach this game much differently than they did the first. UMass-Lowell played two closed scrimmages, so Ohio State had no tape of this year’s team to review. They were making adjustments as the game went on. By contrast, the Golden Eagles have an exhibition and one regular-season game for the Buckeyes to review.

“We have more details now for what we need to do against Marquette,” Scott said. “Now we just know with Marquette, who their shooters are who’s going to be driving the ball, who their big guys are, so it’ll be different now.”

Not only will it be different from Ohio State’s opener in preparation and level of competition, the Buckeyes promise that tonight’s game with Marquette will be much different than the offensive quagmire that was last year’s game between the two schools.

“This will be an up and down, high octane type game,” Matta said.

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