Ohio State has won its first two games by a combined 49 points and more dominance is expected Friday as the Buckeyes welcome University of Texas-Arlington.
The Mavericks (1-1) should be a step up over Grambling State as they are ranked 217th by Ken Pomeroy’s rankings compared to the dead last 351st of the Tigers, but the Buckeyes will certainly be overwhelming favorites.
As has been the case in the first two games, the focus for Ohio State will be on internal improvement and for the second consecutive game that means reducing turnovers. The Buckeyes are averaging 17.5 per contest through two games and cleaning those up is priority one for Thad Matta.
“I thought that we’ve been better every time we’ve taken the floor,” the coach said. “Not perfect, but we’ve shown improvement somehow, some way."
Growing pains are expected for the young team – D’Angelo Russell led the team in turnovers through two games last season – but that doesn’t excuse the miscues.
Friday’s game may lend itself to more turnovers as UT-Arlington plays at an extremely fast pace, Matta said, something this version of the Buckeyes look to do as well.
That is especially the case when reserve point guard A.J. Harris is in the game as his speed is one of his best assets.
So far this season, Marc Loving leads the Buckeyes in scoring with 14.5 points per game while Jae’Sean Tate (12.5), Keita Bates-Diop (11) and Kam Williams (11) are also averaging double figures. Matta attributed Loving’s success to a more aggressive approach, while the junior said he is playing with confidence.
“I would say I am a very confident person, I’m very confident in my abilities,” Loving said. I feel like my teammates and my coaches have confidence in me as well. I don’t see a problem with a lack of confidence.”
He’ll take that confidence to the court when the Buckeyes host the Mavericks Friday at 7 p.m.