Senior forward Sam Thompson said the team wasn’t happy with their performance at the United Center, but the Buckeyes (9-2) know how to wash away the taste of disappointment. Pallet-cleansing Miami (Ohio) comes to Columbus tonight at 6 p.m.
“Everybody understands that we didn’t show up to play today the way we needed to, and they understand the best part about the game of basketball is that we’ve got another chance to do it in less than 48 hours,” Thompson said in Chicago.” We have no issues about being ready to play.”
Granted, beating the lowly Redhawks, just 3-7 so far this season, isn’t the same chance that the Buckeyes had in Chicago, but it does provide an opportunity to get back in the win column just two games before the start of Big Ten Play.
Really, that shouldn’t be a problem against Miami. The Redhawks allow 101.7 points per 100 possessions, 204th in the country, and score just 94.2 points per 10 offensive possessions, 296th. Miami hauls in just 28 rebounds per game, the fifth-worst number in the nation.
Miami does have a handful of offensive weapons as Eric Washington averaged 13.1 points per game and Geovonie McKnight (10.8) and Will Sullivan (10.0) are both averaging double figures.
Head coach Thad Matta said Buckeyes problems surfaced against North Carolina Saturday and the Redhawks appear to be the perfect team against whom to right the ship.
“I think there are obviously issues,” Matta said. “We’ve got two losses to two really, really, really good basketball teams, great basketball teams. I think to put ourselves in that position, we’ve got to look ourselves in the mirror and say, hey, we’re not there yet, which is fine, but we’ve got to look at all the little things that we have to do to get better and get that established.
“Knowing that it’s – I don’t want to say it’s early, but it’s still December. We’ve got January, February, March still to play basketball. How much better can we get in that time?”
The Buckeyes won’t really know against Miami Monday as the Redhawks simply aren’t a good enough team to challenge Ohio State. While upsets of Big ten teams throughout the nonconference have run rampant recently, the Buckeyes shouldn’t struggle tonight.
With a win nearly a foregone conclusion, the bigger concern is getting past the UNC loss.
“We’re going to come in, were going to practice tomorrow, were going to do what we to do,” Thompson said of moving on from the loss, “And we’re going to take care of Miami.”